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The Big Steal (1949)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,574 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 26 critic

An army lieutenant accused of robbery pursues the real thief on a frantic chase through Mexico aided by the thief's fiancee.

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Title: The Big Steal (1949)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
Don Alvarado ...
...
Pascual García Peña ...
Manuel (as Pascual Garcia Pena)
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Storyline

Jane and Duke (alias Capt. Blake) accidently meet in Vera Cruz while chasing flim-flam man Fiske. Soon the local Inspector General (El Gato) is involved. Fiske races across Mexico, pursued by Jane and Duke, trailed by the real Capt. Blake. The crafty Inspector General is waiting for them in Tihuacan but they all give him the slip, just in time for the climactic finale. Very tight script and pacing. Written by <timbo@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mitchum is HOT! - HOT...off location in the heart of Mexico...HOT...after a girl with a million-dollar figure!...HOT...at the nation's boxoffices...HOT...in his newest picture!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 December 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cais da Maldição  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shooting schedule had to be rearranged to accommodate Robert Mitchum's 43 day stay in prison for marijuana possession. See more »

Goofs

When Duke Halliday falls off the side of Jim Fiske's car, he lands on his left arm and is seen rubbing it. In the next scene, while speaking to Inspector General Ortega, Halliday is rubbing his right arm. See more »

Quotes

Col. Ortega: [talking to Lt. Ruiz] Once upon a time there was a little cat who had a little mouse right in his paws but he let the little mouse go that later he could follow that little mouse into a group of little "mouses"
[correcting]
Col. Ortega: mice!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Big Steal: Look Behind You (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a tough gritty noir by any stretch of the imagination but instead a fun crime drama
16 November 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Jane and Duke meet in Vera Cruz, where they have both come to find Jim Friske – Jane because she is missing $2000, Duke because Friske has stolen hundreds of thousands that Duke has been accused of stealing. Duke himself is being pursued by Captain Blake to get the money back and bring him to justice. Duke gives Blake the slip but Friske gets away from all of them; believing Jane to know more than she is letting on Duke limpets to her to get to Friske, only for both of them to get pulled in front of the local Inspector General Ortega. All these players dance around one another as each tries to get what they want while also protecting themselves from the others.

Opening with a couple of sudden slaps and punches I assumed this was going to be a very rough pot-boiler but in fact it turned out to be not only tough but also pretty amusing and slick. The basic plot is a bit contrived and requires all the characters to be able to move around one another without getting an easy solution. This does produce some amusing interactions as the story stays quite tight on the way to a nicely twisty conclusion. It isn't dark enough or strong enough to be classed as a serious crime thriller or noir (which it absurdly is listed as by this site) but it is certainly entertaining and tough enough to be worth checking out.

The cast really help and seem to "get" the tone of the material. Mitchum is tough but has a good humour about him that sets up the rest of the film; he has judged it well and his easy charm gives him chemistry with Greer. She is also good – light and sassy without straying too much outside of the role of needy female. Bendix is tough and flustered in a good way while Knowles makes for quite a nice relaxed thief that sits well with the playing that the script requires him and the other characters to do. Novarro is a fun addition and he works well as the observer in the background.

Overall this is not a tough gritty noir that it may appear to be from the period and those involved but it is still a fun crime drama. It is occasionally quite rough while also having a slight caper feel to it but the overall impact is one of quite a slick and enjoyable film that makes up for in fun what it loses in grit.


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