Joe Sullivan is itching to get out of prison. He's taken the rap for Rick, who owes him $50 Grand. Rick sets up an escape for Joe, knowing that Joe will be caught escaping and be shot or ... See full summary »
'Doc' Riedenschneider, legendary crime 'brain' just out of prison, has a brilliant plan for a million-dollar burglary. To pull it off, he recruits safecracker Louis, driver Gus, financial backer Emmerich, and strong-arm man Dix Handley. At first the plan goes like clockwork, but little accidents accumulate and each partner proves to have his own fatal weakness. In the background is a pervasive, grimy urban malaise. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Both director John Huston and star Sterling Hayden were members of the Committee for the First Amendment, which stood against the blacklisting of alleged Communists working in the film industry during the Red Scare. Huston had never been a Communist, although Hayden at one point had been. See more »
The safe the gang robs has an electronic-eye-alarm along the wall which must be avoided or else the alarm would sound off. Everyone avoids this alarm in the scene except for Dix, who is clearly standing in its way when the gang converses whether they should stay to finish the job or leave prematurely. See more »
I am a fan of film noir, owning many of them, and this one is right about at the top of the list and climbing each time I view it. It might even have passed Double Indemnity for the number one spot. It's that good.
For anyone who has not seen it: the poster art and the video/DVD cover are both misleading. They usually feature Marilyn Monroe in publicizing this movie, but she only has a small role. Many times they feature Monroe, Jean Hagen and Sterling Hayden all together....and those three are never on screen at the same time. My point being: what you see on the outside is not what's on the inside.
Hayden is the star of the film but Sam Jaffe and Louis Calhern are not far behind. In fact, the more I watch this film, the more I see the latter two as the real stars here, and I especially have begun to appreciate the great acting by Calhern in here.
Actually, everyone performs at a very high level. The diverse and interesting characters are really fun to watch, one of the big reasons I rate this film so high. Hayden, with his big body and tough demeanor, was perfect for film noir. He is a legitimate tough guy, nobody to fool with. Jaffe was fascinating as the little German "doctor" but until I got the DVD and put on the English subtitles, I never understood all his dialog, which is terrific, and "Doc" is my favorite character in this film. Kudos also go to James Whitmore and Marc Lawrence for great supporting role performances.
The two women, Hagen and Monroe, also do their bits nicely. I never understood people who criticized Monroe's acting. I thought she was pretty good right from the start, with this film as an example. I also liked seeing her thin and in shape.
This movie is a gritty, tough, no-nonsense crime story concerning a jewel robbery where things go wrong and eventually does everybody in. Actually, it isn't just a botched robbery that ruins some of them - it's character weakness, from greed to sexual lust.
"You reap what you sow" could be a moral of this story.
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