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The Big Combo (1955) Poster

(1955)

Trivia

Jack Palance was originally hired for the role of "Mr. Brown", but after clashing with the producers, he left the production. Before leaving he recommended they hire Richard Conte to replace him, which they did.
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.
In what is arguably this film's most memorable scene, the weapon with which Richard Conte's character so effectively bludgeons Cornel Wilde's protagonist (albeit unbearably - and unforgettably - hearing-aid-enhanced), is the uncredited, offscreen contribution of the then hugely popular L.A.-based jazz ensemble, Shorty Rogers and His Giants; and in particular, the excellent but - in this case - literally deafening drum solo of Shelly Manne.
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Unusually for a film noir of this period, the score is not orchestral but jazz.
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Generally considered to be one of cinematographer John Alton's finest achievements.
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The names 'Fante' and 'Mingo' were later used by writer-director Joss Whedon for two characters - twin brothers - that the Serenity crew meet in the movie Serenity (2005).
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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.
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Helen Walker's final film.
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The film was considered very daring for its time. Cornel Wilde's detective character is clearly having a casual sexual relationship with Helene Stanton's Rita, while the film quite openly infers that the two henchmen played by Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman are in a homosexual relationship.
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Jean Wallace was Cornel Wilde's wife at the time.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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