I'm reviving this thread after finally seeing NIGHTMARE ALLEY, which lives up to the praise all of you have given it. My major complaint would be that I wanted it to be even longer with more scenes for Helen Walker, but that's a good complaint to have.
To answer a question from Ken way back in the thread about five years ago, yes, I think the gay/bisexual director, Edmund Goulding, wants us to see Lilith as bi. We first see Lilith in an evening gown with an elaborate hairdo; she seems to be a spoiled rich ex-debutante (which she is, but that only begins to tell the tale). In her next scene she has a simpler hairstyle and is dressed in a style, complete with little bow tie, which for the times would suggest butch lesbian. Oh, and then we find out she's a therapist. And the revelations keep on coming, bit by bit. Incidentally, very early in the film a carny worker asks Stan why he's hanging around in the area where there aren't any "skirts." That's one way to tell the audience Stan is a ladies' man, which seems obvious, but that kind of comment could so easily be a pickup line, and I would not put that intention past Goulding.
There's so much to say about this film. I had no idea Tyrone Power could act this well. Stan is like the dark side of a movie star who's so handsome that people project their own scripts onto him, and he's learned how to use this. This obviously isn't unfamiliar territory for Power (Tyrone, that is). Goulding uses tight shots in a number of scenes, not so many individual close-ups but actors trapped, as it were, in the same shot. I'm crazy about the great shot in Lilith's office of Lilith and Stan slightly leaning toward each other, perfectly matched on each side of the tight shot. The camera tells us these two people belong together.