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.
Dave Bannion is an upright cop on the trail of a vicious gang he suspects holds power over the police force. Bannion is tipped off after a colleague's suicide and his fellow officers' suspicious silence lead him to believe that they are on the gangsters' payroll. When a bomb meant for him kills his wife instead, Bannion becomes a furious force of vengeance and justice, aided along the way by the gangster's spurned girlfriend Debbie. As Bannion and Debbie fall further and further into the Gangland's insidious and brutal trap, they must use any means necessary (including murder) to get to the truth. Written by
Actor Rex Reason was originally cast in this movie to portray Tierney or Detective Burke, but his agent was negotiating for him to play a bigger role in it, possibly that of Lee Marvin's villain, but since there was no agreement reached, Reason did not appear in the movie, even though some 1950s era books and magazines sources give him credit for this movie. See more »
When Bannion (Glenn Ford) fights with Larry Gordon (Adam Williams) in Gordon's hotel room, Gordon's revolver is first seen in the centre of the desk, behind Gordon. When Bannion picks-up the revolver, it is near the right-hand edge of the desk. This move is probably intentional - to allow Bannion to get the revolver without reaching behind Gordon. See more »
Lt. Ted Wilks:
It was bad judgment to bother a cop's widow about the love life of her husband.
Good or bad, it was my judgment.
Lt. Ted Wilks:
You're missing the point. I'm the one that gets the pressure calls from upstairs. I'm the one that has to explain. You don't keep an office like this very long stepping on a lot of corns.
You want me to go upstairs and explain?
Lt. Ted Wilks:
Not you. You're a corn stepper by instinct.
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Gritty, brutal, intense and powerful a fantastic pot-boiler than stands out almost half a century later
An honest, family man cop with a wife and daughter is put onto the investigation of another cop's suicide. He closes the case as suicide due to ill health. However when a women tells him another story and is promptly killed, Bannion just investigates further to find that powerful criminals and powerful politicians share the same table at dinner. When his family is split in an attack meant for him he loses his job and becomes bitter he starts to become more like his enemies as he pursues them.
This is a hardboiled thriller that would still stand up today as a tough film violence and attitudes that make it feel more modern than it is. The story follows the descent of family man Bannion into violence and bitterness when he not only loses what is important to him, but when he finds that corruption at high levels has fed down into rank and file officers causing him to stand out when he tries to catch a criminal.
The brutality of this film shouldn't be underestimated Fritz Lang is no softy! Here we have women beaten and killed, we have sex crimes, we have a women disfigured by scalding coffee in her face. Of course all these things are unseen but this was the 50's! However it is still powerful and adds to the intensity of the film. The story may well have been done many times now but imagine seeing something like this back then!
The cast are great. Ford descends into bitterness really well and seems at ease as both thug and family man. The female cast are good in different ways but the one that catches the eye is a young Lee Marvin. I suspect Marvin got fame because his coffee attack stuck in people's minds even today he is best know as a tough guy in the movies.
Overall this is well worth hunting out it is still being copied by many video thrillers and it just goes to show that you don't have to show gory or graphic violence on screen to be powerful, gritty or shocking.
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