Johnny Damico botches a murder case and is suspended from the force. In reality, he is put undercover to identify the mysterious boss of the NY waterfront who has murdered everyone in his way. Will Johnny be next in line?
In San Francisco, two police inspectors are on the case when a rogue taxi driver, with the help of a rogue porter, manages to steal the suitcase of an antiques collector before running down a cop, whose dying gesture is to shoot the cabbie dead. The inspectors discover that a statuette in the suitcase contains heroin. Meanwhile, a psychopathic gangster, his malignant mentor and their dipsomaniac driver have the job of picking up the other heroin shipments, hidden in the luggage of unsuspecting travelers. All goes well until they attempt to retrieve the heroin stuffed in a Japanese doll. A little girl and her lovely young mother have the doll, but when the crooks take possession of it, they find that the heroin has mysteriously vanished.Written by
When Dancer meets Staples on the dock, a large ship is seen disembarking. It is the S.S. Hunter Victory, a World War II-era merchant ship, which was used as a cargo vessel when filming took place in 1958. This was one of 150 Victory Ships built and named for American colleges and universities. She was launched on May 12, 1945 by Pemanente Metals Corp. in Richmond, California. The ship was named for Hunter College in New York. Only 3 Victory Ships remain, preserved as maritime museums in Tampa, Florida, Los Angeles and Richmond, California. See more »
Seaman Warner is pointed out to Dancer at the ship just before the noon siren sounds. The next scene shows Warner signing into the steam room at the Seaman's Club. After he is murdered, the police ask the steam room attendant when Warner signed in and are told 11:05. See more »
How does it feel to make five G's in one day?
Dancer derives no particular feeling from it.
Oh, not too much!
[With apparent disdain]
I've been watching you. McLean. You've been comin' on big, I don't like that.
Look, I just...
Please, we prefer as little conversation as possible from outsiders. Dancer works better that way. You didn't know before - now you do.
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There were a number of things to like in this movie such as the camera-work, the strange characters and some unique dialog.
To me, the best of the lines were said by the "old" crook, "Julian," played by Robert Keith. To give you idea, "Julian" was writing a book on people's last words after his partner "Dancer" ( Eli Walllach) killed them!! Keith was really interesting to listen to, and did a great job on this role. Actually, Wallach was great, too, playing a clean-shaven whacked-out villain in this story. (Eli would grow a beard and become famous two years after this movie, playing the Mexican villain in "The Magnificent Seven.")
On the other side of the ledger, Warner Anderson (Lt. Ben Guthrie") is perfect for the ultra-straight-laced-looking cop. His partner, "Inspector Al Quine," was played by Emile Meyer. He should be a familiar face to you older folks as Meyer usually played a sadistic bad guy on his numerous TV roles and had a face you couldn't forget! It was odd seeing him as a low-key cop instead of some sadist.
Richard Jaekel as the driver of the two criminals also was different, and had good lines, too, I thought.....so I definitely enjoyed watching this cast.
I enjoyed the story. I wish more late 1950s film noir movies were made because they are a little different. The only surprise I had was that I expected a faster-paced film knowing it was a Don Siegel movie. But, it was still the '50s and not the days yet of "Dirty Harry" so the films will be slower, I suppose, even with an "action" director like Siegel. The story started off with a bang but then started slowing down, almost to standstill after 30-40 minutes but began picking up when Wallach entered the scene, and then got more intense as it went on. The ending is really wild with a couple of shocking scenes.
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