Whew. Watched Billy Wilder's 1951 "Ace in the Hole." Movie's almost as hard to sit through as "The Ox-Bow Incident." Egads. A kick-in-the-gut movie. In the same way, you know it's going to end badly for innocent people, and you keep desperately hoping someone's going to do the right thing, and then when they finally try, it's far far too late. In some ways, this one is actually worse than Ox-Bow. At least in Ox-Bow, the lynch mob thought they had the right reasons. In this one... Kirk Douglas's character's motives are strictly self-serving as he toys with a man's life. He's great to watch in this one, so smug, so confident, and then so desperate and wrecked.
This movie is perfectly cast, and the script is tight and vicious. One rather big thing I kind of had to suspend disbelief on, but they made it work. A great movie, but not one I can watch again any time soon. It hurts too much.