The first question that comes to mind is: between this and That Hamilton Woman (a 1941 movie starring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier at the heights of their powers and in the good days of their marriage), why did good movies have such terrible titles in the 1940s and 50s? Marketing has made a lot of progress since. The Damned Don't Cry is my favorite Joan Crawford movie, with Mildred Pierce coming second.
It's about a woman who leaves a broken home behind after her young son dies in an accident (unwittingly brought about by his controlling and callous father) and little by little moves up in the world by having men do her bidding - first the hapless accountant, then the head of the mob played by David Brian who turns her into high-class bait, then the mobster's lieutenant in California, whom she comes closest to love, but of course in those film noirs the story never ends well. Crawford was best known for portraying women born on the wrong side of the tracks who try to claw their way up, and she doesn't disappoint.
Besides the compelling storyline - the tension builds up at every step and you never guess how exactly it will end - I loved most the lighting of the sets, with the use of the cars' headlights at dusk/night, the choice of angles for the shots and the use of a prologue at the beginning of the movie before going back to the main character's early days. Crawford gets to show us her wide range of acting and I always enjoy watching on screen big names of the moment who have now faded into oblivion, such as David Brian and Steve Cochran. Joan Crawford had a complicated personal life and her acting on screen helps us remember the talent that counterbalanced her difficulties off-screen. If you like films noirs, this is a great choice.