After getting out of prison, Johnny Clay masterminds a complex race-track heist, but his scheme is complicated by the intervention of the wife of a teller (George Peatty) in on the scheme, the boyfriend of the wife, airport regulations, and a small dog. Written by
Andrew Hyatt <email@example.com>
The location where John Clay (Sterling Hayden) proposes the deal to Maurice Oboukhoff (Kola Kwariani) is a mock-up of the 42nd Street Chess and Checker Parlor in New York City. Director Stanley Kubrick was a regular chess player there, as was Kola. See more »
When Nikki tries to drive away after shooting the horse, he supposedly sustains a flat tire from running over the horse shoe discarded by the parking attendant. The tire is already flat before he starts the car. See more »
At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race. He was totally disinterested in horse racing and held a lifelong contempt for gambling. Nevertheless, he had a $5 win bet on every horse in the fifth race. He knew, of course, that this rather unique system of betting would more than likely result in a loss, but he didn't...
See more »
Stanley Kunbrick was still in his twenties when he made this film, yet his confidence and self-assurance are all over it. It is a well-written story, co-written by Kubrick (based on a novel called "A Clean Break"), about a meticulously planned horetrack heist told from the point of view of the several people who were in on the plot. Most of these guys weren't professional criminals, but otherwise honest men who were down on their luck and needed a break. They turned to this audacious plan in desperation, thinking they could do some real good in their lives with their share of the money. I won't give away the ending of course, but keep in mind this is a Kubrick film. That's all I say about that.
Standouts include Sterling Hayden as the ringleader, Marie Windsor as a snide, manipulative woman, Elisha Cook as her milquetoasty husband, Timothy Carey, as creepy as ever, and Kola Kwariani, the thinking man's Tor Johnson, as a chess expert/hired thug.
Speaking of chess, this is the first movie I've ever seen with a scene taking place in a chess parlor. Being from a provincial New England town, and not being a chess afficionado, I never knew such places existed.
55 of 79 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?