A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.


(as Joseph Lewis)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Police Lt. Leonard Diamond
Joe McClure
Susan Lowell
Police Capt. Peterson
Alicia Brown
Jay Adler ...
Detective Sam Hill
Nils Dreyer
Ralph Bettini
Helene Stanton ...
Roy Gordon ...
Doctor (scenes deleted) (as Whit Bissel)
Steve Mitchell ...
Bennie Smith - Boxer


Police Lt. Diamond is told to close his surveillance of suspected mob boss Mr. Brown because it's costing the department too much money with no results. Diamond makes one last attempt to uncover evidence against Brown by going to Brown's girlfriend, Susan Lowell. Written by Norman L Cook <cook@ssdgwy.mdc.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Most Startling Story The Screen Has Ever Dared Reveal!


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Release Date:

13 February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Association criminelle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the very first American films to imply that women derive pleasure from receiving oral sex. The woman in question was actress Jean Wallace who insisted that the scene be shot when her husband (and one of the film's co-producers) Cornel Wilde wasn't on set that day. Wilde was not best pleased with the scene, blaming director Joseph H. Lewis for taking advantage of his wife. Nevertheless the scene now lives on as an iconic example of the cinema breaking taboos. See more »


In the scene where Susan is having a drink in her apartment, there are shadows of plant leaves on a door in the background. However when Mr Brown comes in via another door, these shadows have vanished in the ensuing shots. See more »


Mr. Brown: So you lost. Next time you'll win. I'll show you how. Take a look at Joe McClure here. He used to be my boss, now I'm his. What's the difference between me and him? We breathe the same air, sleep in the same hotel. He used to own it!
[yelling into McClure's sound magnifier that is in his ear]
Mr. Brown: Now it belongs to me. We eat the same steaks, drink the same bourbon. Look, same manicure,
[lifting and pointing at McClure's hand]
Mr. Brown: same cufflinks. But there's only one difference. We don't get the same ...
See more »


Referenced in Splendeur du film noir (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

First is first and second is nothing.
1 June 2003 | by (Muskogee OK) – See all my reviews

A very good gangster flick and evocative film-noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis. A zealous cop(Cornel Wilde) seeks the aid of a gangster's(Richard Conte) ex-girlfriend(Jean Wallace)in bringing down a crime syndicate. Conte's character is relentless as he rules his corrupt world with murder, gunplay and torture. Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman are his minions and Brian Donlevy is a handicapped mentor of sorts. Supporting cast features Helen Walker and Robert Middleton. Terrific lighting and photography make this an exceptional crime drama where shades of gray makes THE BIG COMBO a notch above the ordinary. Note:off-screen Wilde and Wallace are Mr. & Mrs.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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