Writer Ralph Ellison celebrated the existence of this film in his essay "The Shadow and the Act". He said that although other post-War films did make strides in portraying black folks sympathetically, this was the first that would not have been hooted at by any all-black audience. That is, its portrayal of racial roles and its resolution of racial tensions is at least honest. That's in contrast to other films of the time that attempted to deal with race, like Pinky, Lost Boundaries, and Home of the Brave. Plus there's a pretty good murder mystery at the center. A cultural landmark that helped get us over the ugly cinematic hump put in place by The Birth of a Nation.