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
A February 1950 "Daily Variety" news item noted that John Maxwell, who plays a doctor in the picture, "made such a hit with preview audiences" that MGM re-shot a portion of the title credits to include his name. See more »
When Dix and Doll arrive at the Hickory Wood Farm in their car, you can see the reflection of some of the crew members on the passenger side door. See more »
Brilliant crime thriller that had a profound influence on the caper genre.
I'm a sucker for a good heist film, and three of the best I've ever seen were made around 1955/56 - 'Rififi', 'Bob le flambeur' and 'The Killing'. Now they are still three of the greatest crime thrillers ever made, but now that I've finally seen 'The Asphalt Jungle' it's obvious what source those movies were drawing on! Not that I'm saying they're rip offs, they're not, but they are kind of three (excellent) variations on Huston's theme. 'The Asphalt Jungle' must therefore be seen as the most influential crime movie of the modern era, and the blueprint for every subsequent caper movie ('The Anderson Tapes', 'Thief', 'Reservoir Dogs', 'The Usual Suspects', 'The Score',etc.etc.) This superb film noir is almost impossible to fault. The script is first rate, John Huston's direction is inspired, Sterling Hayden - possibly America's most underrated actor - is fantastic as troubled ex-con Dix Handley, and the ensemble cast are all excellent, especially James Whitmore ('Them!'), Louis Calhern ('Notorious'), Sam Jaffe ('The Day The Earth Stood Still') and John McIntire ('Psycho'). The early role for Marilyn Monroe made a strong impact on a lot of people, but I was even more impressed by Jean Hagen as Doll. She is unforgettable and her scenes with Hayden are wonderful. Why did she never become a major star? This is a crime classic and brilliant entertainment. Highly recommended!
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