7.5/10
5,309
71 user 62 critic

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)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Gun Crazy (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster
Force of Evil (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director: Abraham Polonsky
Stars: John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Detour (1945)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake
D.O.A. (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man is found murdered, with witnesses convinced about the woman they saw leaving his apartment. However, it becomes apparent that the woman has a twin, and finding out which one is the killer seems impossible.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An ex-bomber pilot is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife.

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pickpocket unwittingly lifts a message destined for enemy agents and becomes a target for a Communist spy ring.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This film-noir piece, told in semi-documentary style, follows police on the hunt for a resourceful criminal who shoots and kills a cop.

Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann
Stars: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In what is arguably this film's most memorable scene, the weapon with which Richard Conte's character so effectively bludgeons Cornel Wilde's protagonist (albeit unbearably--and unforgettably--hearing-aid-enhanced) is the uncredited, off-screen contribution of the then hugely popular L.A.-based jazz ensemble Shorty Rogers and His Giants, and in particular the excellent--but in this case literally deafening--drum solo of Shelly Manne. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene at the airport, the position of the spotlight attached to the car that Susan keeps aiming at Brown changes from the top of the windshield to the bottom and back again. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Brown: Diamond, the only trouble with you is, you'd like to be me. You'd like to have my organization, my influence, my fix. You can't, it's impossible. You think it's money. It's not. It's personality. You haven't got it. You're a cop. Slow. Steady. Intelligent. With a bad temper and a gun under your arm. With a big yen for a girl you can't have. First is first and second is nobody.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Love Lucy: The Star Upstairs (1955) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Brutal and Twisted Noir
18 December 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Cornel Wilde plays a police detective obsessed with bringing down crime lord Mr. Brown (Richard Conte), while hoping at the same time to win the affections of Conte's girl, Jean Wallace, in this tremendously atmospheric noir from 1955. The noir genre wouldn't last much longer (many contend that 1958's "Touch of Evil" is the last true noir), but it went out with a bang, giving us some of its best examples (this, "Kiss Me Deadly," "On Dangerous Ground") in its last years.

Wilde plays detective Leonard Diamond like a man coming apart at the seams. His determination to bring an end to Brown's reign feels as if it's fueled by personal motivations as much as by a sense of justice. This ambiguity in the hero's actions adds to the rotten atmosphere created by director Joseph Lewis, in which the bad guys often have more allure than the good ones. Richard Conte certainly has magnetism to spare; his monotone, machine-gun patter when belittling Diamond for being a "little man" nearly makes you forget that Wilde towers over Conte whenever they're in the frame together. And, despite his chauvinist treatment of her, one can understand why Jean Wallace's character would be drawn against her will to the more virile Conte than to the "impotent" Wilde.

Indeed, the question of manhood -- who has it and who doesn't -- is central to "The Big Combo." It's a theme common to the genre, but is given one of its most overt treatments here. In this twisted world, the ability to inflict pain -- be it mental, emotional, physical or sexual -- is a measure of one's ability to "be a man" and make it in the world. Those who aren't man enough, like Mr. Brown's gay henchmen or right-hand man, McClure (played with just the right amount of vulnerability by Brian Donlevy), are destroyed.

"The Big Combo" boasts arresting black and white images, and a number of thrillingly memorable set pieces (let's just say that imaginative and recurring use is made of a hearing aid). It doesn't beat its kissing cousin from the same year, "Kiss Me Deadly," in my book, but it's an awfully fun ride.

Grade: A


28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 71 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed