Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.
Drifting floozy Billie Nash gets a bar job where she seduces the owner's husband by convincing him to defraud his drunkard wife in order to elope together to Mexico but a sleazy neighbor with designs on Billie jeopardizes her plans.
Petty crook and cop-killer Martin Rome, in bad shape from wounds in the hospital prison ward, still refuses to help slimy lawyer Niles clear his client by confessing to another crime. Police Lt. Candella must check Niles' allegation; a friend of the Rome family, he walks a tightrope between sentiment and cynicism. When Martin fears Candella will implicate his girlfriend Teena, he'll do anything to protect her. How many others will he drag down to disaster with him?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is not surprising that so much has been written about the sub genre of the "film noir". The execution of a noir film required a tremendous artistry and expertise in all aspects of cinema. The classic noir films are truly works of art; cinema at its best, not relying on star power or big budgets, but rather a mastery of the very rudiments of making movies.
What Ford was to the western, Hitchcock to suspense, Sirk to melodrama, so was Robert Siodmak to the noir. While "Cry of the City" is often left out of discussions of the genre, it is, in many ways a near perfect example of the genre.
By 1948 the noir was beginning to hit its stride. Siodmak came to this project with much valuable experience. His execution of this not especially remarkable story has a fluidity and assurance of style that one can only marvel at.
Despite the well worn cop vs. gangster tale, there is a potent psychological complexity at the core of "Cry of the City". Richard Conte's Martin Rome, is charismatic and charming. Not only does he work his magic on unsuspecting females, we the audience are firmly on his side at the start of the movie. As the plot unfolds his ruthless, selfish and manipulative motives become apparent. Yet it will take some time before we are completely convinced. It's a masterly stroke of screen writing. It will take Victor Mature's impassioned indictment to completely convince us.
Victor Mature is surprisingly competent in the lead in what must be surely one of his best roles. Richard Conte is simply superb in a complex and tricky role. His method is one of economy and subtlety and a lesson to screen actors. Despite a host of fine performances, Conte seems to not have garnered the respect he deserved.
A classic of its kind.
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