A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
After just being released from a five year stint in prison, Johnny Clay has assembled a five man team, including two insiders, to carry out what he estimates will be a $2 million heist at Lansdowne Racetrack, that take, minus expenses, to be split five ways. Besides Johnny, none of the men truly are criminals in the typical sense. In addition to the other four team members, Johnny has hired two men external to the team to carry out specific functions for a flat fee, the other four who will not meet the two men for hire or know who they are, while the two men for hire will not be told of the bigger picture of the heist. None involved are to tell anyone, even their loved ones, about the job, each of the five who has a specific reason for wanting his share of the money: Johnny, in wanting to get married to his longtime girlfriend Fay, the two who have known each other since they were kids, realizes that to live comfortably, he has to shoot for the moon instead of carrying out the penny ... Written by
During the first scene showing the horses in their stalls at the track, the two closest horses, on the left of the screen. move in perfect unison. One of them has probably been optically printed into an empty stall, to remove the visual distraction and provide better visual symmetry. Although why Kubrick synchronized them is a mystery. See more »
The bird in the cage (after George has shot Shelley and is about to fall down) is obviously stuffed. In the next shot on the ground, it's a living bird. 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...
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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.
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