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The Big Combo (1955)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 February 1955 (USA)
A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.

Director:

Joseph H. Lewis (as Joseph Lewis)

Writer:

Philip Yordan (by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cornel Wilde ... Police Lt. Leonard Diamond
Richard Conte ... Mr. Brown
Brian Donlevy ... Joe McClure
Jean Wallace ... Susan Lowell
Robert Middleton ... Police Capt. Peterson
Lee Van Cleef ... Fante
Earl Holliman ... Mingo
Helen Walker ... Alicia Brown
Jay Adler ... Detective Sam Hill
John Hoyt ... Nils Dreyer
Ted de Corsia ... Ralph Bettini
Helene Stanton ... Rita
Roy Gordon Roy Gordon ... Audubon
Whit Bissell ... Doctor (scenes deleted) (as Whit Bissel)
Steve Mitchell Steve Mitchell ... Bennie Smith - Boxer
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Storyline

Police Lt. Diamond is told to close his surveillance of suspected mob boss Mr. Brown because it's costing the department too much money with no results. Diamond makes one last attempt to uncover evidence against Brown by going to Brown's girlfriend, Susan Lowell. Written by Norman L Cook <cook@ssdgwy.mdc.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Startling Story The Screen Has Ever Dared Reveal!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swedish

Release Date:

13 February 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hoodlum See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the very first American films to imply that women derive pleasure from receiving oral sex. The woman in question was Jean Wallace, who insisted that the scene be shot when her husband (and one of the film's co-producers) Cornel Wilde wasn't on set that day. Wilde was not completely pleased with the scene, blaming director Joseph H. Lewis for taking advantage of his wife. Nevertheless, the scene now lives on as an iconic example of the cinema breaking taboos. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Susan is having a drink in her apartment, there are shadows of plant leaves on a door in the background. However when Mr Brown comes in via another door, these shadows have vanished in the ensuing shots. See more »

Quotes

Joe McClure: Mr. Brown is a very reasonable man. You don't know him.
Leonard Diamond: Oh, is he? Well I'm not. I intend to make life very difficult for your Mr. Brown.
Joe McClure: You shouldn't talk like that, Lieutenant. You're overstepping your authority.
Mr. Brown: Joe, the man has reason to hate me. His salary is $96.50 a week. The busboys in my hotel make better money than that. Don't you see, Joe? He's a righteous man.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Witch Hunt (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another "Lost" Noir Classic
23 July 2004 | by Arriflex1See all my reviews

Here is yet another gem from the forgotten noir vault. Director Joseph Lewis trades in the quasi-cinema verite style of his GUN CRAZY(1950) for strictly in-studio work and still hits the jackpot. Cinematographer John Alton works his customary chiaroscuro artistry on a fairly straightforward tale of one frustrated but determined police detective longing to collar one supremely confident crime boss.

Cornel Wilde plays the cop with stolid righteousness (although the lawman isn't above trysting with a leggy striptease artist). But the filmmakers put the main focus on the calculating yet tortured (and torturing) mobster played by Richard Conte. Conte, spitting out many of his lines with measured bile, is brilliant: a smug, know-it-all killer backed by the ever-ready menace of Lee Van Cleef and the studied goofiness of Earl Holliman. (As written, these two bring a very special dynamic to post-World War II crime melodrama). Brian Donleavy is on hand as a washed up but still scheming mob kingpin. And Jean Wallace plays the high-falutin' moll who yearns to go back to her world of piano recitals and afternoon teas but who just can't get enough of Conte's sinister mojo. This low budget but highly effective noir makes an excellent double feature with another cheap but powerful film of the genre, BEHIND LOCKED DOORS. Both films are highly recommended.


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