A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
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
Both actor/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 »
When the police enter Gus's diner, he turns the volume of the music up, but oddly he does it by turning the dial anticlockwise, which would normally turn volume down. When they go, Gus turns the volume down, again turning the dial anticlockwise. See more »
"Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor"
"The Asphalt Jungle" is one of the greatest crime films. The movie has its roots in several great film noir projects, such as "Double Indemnity", "The Killers", "Criss Cross", and "Out of the Past". Its lasting impression over time is based upon its quality and its unprecedentedly brilliant use of the "caper" as a plot device. As stated in other comments, this film noir's influence can be seen in hundreds of disparate "caper" movies - "Rififi", "A Simple Plan", "The Guns of Navarone", "The Usual Suspects", and "How to Steal a Million", just to name a few.
I will not give away the results of the "caper", but the film is truly superior in how it explores relationships and deception. This is one of John Huston's greatest works, and the script lays down the tension from the first moment and doesn't let up. Huston uses multiple closeups to literally drain the emotion out of the characters. Hayden, Calhern, Lawrence, Hagen, and Whitmore turn in superb performances with many memorable moments, but Sam Jaffe steals the film in an Oscar-worthy performance as the brain behind the caper. Marilyn Monroe makes an indelible impression in a fairly brief but pivotal role.
Please do not miss this - an easy 10 out of 10.
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