Almost in breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the 70s on the world's hardest endurance course: Le Mans in France. The race goes over 24 hours on 14.5 ... See full summary »
Lee H. Katzin
Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and... See full summary »
Rocky Graziano is building a career in crime, when he's finally caught and arrested. In jail, he is undisciplined, always getting into trouble. When he gets out after many years he has ... See full summary »
George Fowler is drawn into a gang planning to rob a bank in St. Louis that they expect will have a $100,000 on hand on an upcoming Friday. George is drawn into the plan as the gang's driver by Gino, an old girlfriend's older brother. As the gang goes about its planning, George and Gino have to find a way to live for the next two weeks and they turn to Gino's sister, Ann, for help. George is hoping to go back to college and the money he would make would go a long way to helping him do that. Not trusting George to keep his nerve, the gang's leader John Egan moves him to the inside, but the robbery doesn't go off as planned. Written by
I came across the DVD of this by accident at the library. I'd never heard of it but figured, hey, its Steve McQueen so it must be good. And it is.
Very noir, no heroes (one borderline heroine though) or villains here - just four guys that took the wrong path and can't figure out any other way to live. One of them even needs the cash from the bank job to pay his lawyer who is defending him on another robbery charge! They're all losers and they know it but the idea of doing anything differently is beyond them. McQueen's character is about as sharp as Moose from Archie comics and probably the dumbest of the bunch. His former girlfriend tries to be his saving grace but he isn't smart enough to see it and you feel sadder for her than any of the four robbers. The weed of crime bears only bitter fruit for all the main characters by the end of the film whether they deserve it or not.
The film is done somewhere between the semi-documentary approach of the then-current Untouchables TV series and a straight crime film. Lots of detail, lots of character definition and pretty much zero action until the last ten minutes or so. Had they put quotation marks around the word great it would have made for an accurate ironic title. The lack of budget helps quite a bit - no fancy props or effects could be used, it had to be in b & w and it was probably filmed on location more for the sake of saving the cost of building or renting a set than authenticity.
If you like gritty crime films give it a try.
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