The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret ... See full summary »
A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
Romantic, obsessive Steve Thompson is drawn back to L.A. to make another try for Anna, his former wife. However, Anna belongs now to the L.A. underworld. Steve believes he can rescue her, ignoring the advice and warnings of people who would try to save him. He commits himself to a dangerous course of action that quickly takes everyone somewhere unintended. Written by
It was only fitting that Robert Siodmak directed Criss Cross, as he had also directed the film's star, Burt Lancaster, in his first film three years earlier, and this one is Burt's farewell to noir and city suits, as he was about to begin his swashbuckling phase, and after that would don military uniforms and cowboy gear.
Criss Cross is basically a "big heist" movie, full of people double crossing one another with alarming frequency, and to such a degree that the story is often hard to follow. Yvonne De Carlo is the love interest, and Dan Duryea is an exceptionally nasty bad guy even for noir. The setting is L.A., and there is much excellent location photography that makes the movie a treat for people who want to see what the city looked like before half of it was bulldozed to make way for the highways.
There's nothing startling or especially new about this movie. It has a fine and somewhat eclectic supporting cast which includes Alan Napier and Richard Long, Steve McNally and Percy Helton. As in The Killers, there's a strong air of fatalism in the movie, more oppressive here, with a darker tone, and a more Germanic, almost Langian feeling of hopelessness.
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