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The Big Combo (1955)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,085 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 51 critic

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.

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(as Joseph Lewis)

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

The Most Startling Story The Screen Has Ever Dared Reveal!


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Association criminelle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film skirted the Production Code by making several not-too-subtle hints that Mr. Brown's henchmen, Fante and Mingo (played by Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman), were a homosexual couple. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Mr. Brown: Joe, tell the man I'm gonna break him so fast, he won't have time to change his pants. Tell him the next time I see him, he'll be in the lobby of the hotel, crying like a baby and asking for a ten dollar loan. Tell him that. And tell him I don't break my word.
Leonard Diamond: You must have done something pretty fine to get as high as you are, Mr. Brown. I'm looking into that. I'm gonna open you up, and I'm gonna operate. I hate to think of what I'll find.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Another "Lost" Noir Classic
23 July 2004 | by (Beyond The Cosmos) – See all my reviews

Here is yet another gem from the forgotten noir vault. Director Joseph Lewis trades in the quasi-cinema verite style of his GUN CRAZY(1950) for strictly in-studio work and still hits the jackpot. Cinematographer John Alton works his customary chiaroscuro artistry on a fairly straightforward tale of one frustrated but determined police detective longing to collar one supremely confident crime boss.

Cornel Wilde plays the cop with stolid righteousness (although the lawman isn't above trysting with a leggy striptease artist). But the filmmakers put the main focus on the calculating yet tortured (and torturing) mobster played by Richard Conte. Conte, spitting out many of his lines with measured bile, is brilliant: a smug, know-it-all killer backed by the ever-ready menace of Lee Van Cleef and the studied goofiness of Earl Holliman. (As written, these two bring a very special dynamic to post-World War II crime melodrama). Brian Donleavy is on hand as a washed up but still scheming mob kingpin. And Jean Wallace plays the high-falutin' moll who yearns to go back to her world of piano recitals and afternoon teas but who just can't get enough of Conte's sinister mojo. This low budget but highly effective noir makes an excellent double feature with another cheap but powerful film of the genre, BEHIND LOCKED DOORS. Both films are highly recommended.


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