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The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | June 1950 (USA)
A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Police Commissioner Hardy
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Cobby
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Lt. Ditrich
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Louis Ciavelli
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Maria Ciavelli
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Timmons (as William Davis)
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May Emmerich
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Bob Brannom
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Dr. Swanson
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Storyline

When the intelligent criminal Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider is released from prison, he seeks a fifty thousand-dollar investment from the bookmaker Cobby to recruit a small gang of specialists for a million-dollar heist of jewels from a jewelry. Doc is introduced to the lawyer Alonzo D. Emmerich that offers to finance the whole operation and buy the gems immediately after the burglary. Doc hires the safecracker Louis Ciavelli, the driver Gus Minissi and the gunman Dix Handley to the heist. His plan works perfectly but bad luck and betrayals compromise the steps after the heist and the gangsters need to flee from the police. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The City Under the City


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Asphalt Jungle (The City Under the City)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,232,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A tribute to Sam Jaffe's character, Doc Riedenschneider, appears in Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's film noir The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), which features a defense lawyer named Freddy Riedenschneider, played by Tony Shalhoub. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Ciavelli was inside of a long narrow tunnel. He chisels through the thin brick wall of the tunnel and goes inside of a room, and along that same wall is a door leading upstairs. On the other side of the wall, there was no evidence of a door. See more »

Quotes

Angela Phinlay: I had the market send over some salt mackerel for you. I know how you love it for breakfast.
Alonzo D. Emmerich: [Looks at her approvingly] Some sweet kid.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Usual Suspects (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One Of The All-Time Best Noirs
23 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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