A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
When the intelligent criminal Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider is released from prison, he seeks a fifty thousand-dollar investment from the bookmaker Cobby to recruit a small gang of specialists for a million-dollar heist of jewels from a jewelry. Doc is introduced to the lawyer Alonzo D. Emmerich that offers to finance the whole operation and buy the gems immediately after the burglary. Doc hires the safecracker Louis Ciavelli, the driver Gus Minissi and the gunman Dix Handley to the heist. His plan works perfectly but bad luck and betrayals compromise the steps after the heist and the gangsters need to flee from the police.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A February 1950 "Daily Variety" news item noted that John Maxwell, who plays a doctor in the picture, "made such a hit with preview audiences" that MGM re-shot a portion of the title credits to include his name. See more »
When Louis and Doc finish emptying out the jewelry boxes, the vault gate is open. But after they crawl back out under the electric eye; the gate automatically closes. It makes no sense as to why the gate would close especially since Louis crawled back and forth a couple of times without the gate closing. See more »
Police Commissioner Hardy:
Married 20 years, consorting with a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. It's disgusting! But nothing about Emmerich would surprise me. Educated man who uses brains to circumvent the law. Worst type of human being. No excuse for him.
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Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
"Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor"
"The Asphalt Jungle" is one of the greatest crime films. The movie has its roots in several great film noir projects, such as "Double Indemnity", "The Killers", "Criss Cross", and "Out of the Past". Its lasting impression over time is based upon its quality and its unprecedentedly brilliant use of the "caper" as a plot device. As stated in other comments, this film noir's influence can be seen in hundreds of disparate "caper" movies - "Rififi", "A Simple Plan", "The Guns of Navarone", "The Usual Suspects", and "How to Steal a Million", just to name a few.
I will not give away the results of the "caper", but the film is truly superior in how it explores relationships and deception. This is one of John Huston's greatest works, and the script lays down the tension from the first moment and doesn't let up. Huston uses multiple closeups to literally drain the emotion out of the characters. Hayden, Calhern, Lawrence, Hagen, and Whitmore turn in superb performances with many memorable moments, but Sam Jaffe steals the film in an Oscar-worthy performance as the brain behind the caper. Marilyn Monroe makes an indelible impression in a fairly brief but pivotal role.
Please do not miss this - an easy 10 out of 10.
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