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.
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
John Huston, one of the great film makers of all times, was at the top of his craft when he undertook the direction of "The Asphalt Jungle". The book by W.R. Barnett was brilliantly adapted by Mr. Huston and Ben Maddox and the result stunned everyone. In fact, the film has been so influential one sees parts of it in other movies of the genre. The magnificent cinematography created by Harold Rosson speaks by itself. The music score by Miklos Rozsa stays in the background and never interferes with the action.
This is a film that looks as good today, as when it first was released. In fact, one discovers more nuances as one watches it again, when it's shown on cable. The cast of the film is one of its best assets going for "The Asphalt Jungle". Mr. Huston assembled some of the best talent working in the American cinema of that time.
Sterling Hayden, as Dix, gives a tremendous performance. The excellent Louis Calhern, though, steals the picture with his take on Lon Emmerich, the man who finds he is broke and wants to be at the center of the caper, without risking anything. Marilyn Monroe has only two scenes in the movie, but she shines in them. Also Jean Hagen, an actress that should have gone far, but didn't, makes a valuable contribution with her Doll Conovan.
The supporting cast is amazing. James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, Anthony Caruso, Brad Dexter, and the rest, play well together to give the film a seamless look.
"The Asphalt Jungle" shows why John Huston was one of the most influential men in pictures. His films are a must see for all movie lovers and studied by his successors and people working today owe a lot to this master, who pioneered a style that stands as his legacy.
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