7.0/10
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18 user 11 critic

Concrete Jungle (1960)

The Criminal (original title)
In UK, after pulling a racetrack robbery, repeat offender Johnny Bannion hides the loot in a farmer's field but the police and the local mob come looking for Johnny and for the money.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writer:

Alun Owen (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Baker ... Johnny Bannion
Sam Wanamaker ... Mike Carter
Grégoire Aslan ... Frank Saffron
Margit Saad ... Suzanne
Jill Bennett ... Maggie
Rupert Davies ... Edwards
Laurence Naismith ... Mr. Town
John Van Eyssen John Van Eyssen ... Formby
Noel Willman ... Prison Governor
Derek Francis Derek Francis ... Priest
Redmond Phillips ... Prison Doctor
Kenneth J. Warren Kenneth J. Warren ... Clobber (as Kenneth Warren)
Patrick Magee ... Barrows
Robert Adams Robert Adams ... Judas
Kenneth Cope ... Kelly
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Storyline

An ex-con who's taken part in the robbery of a racetrack is caught and sent back to prison, but he won't tell his fellow gang members where he's stashed the loot. The gang kidnaps his girlfriend and has him tortured in prison in an effort to find out where the money is. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

loot | robbery | racetrack | prison | heist | See All (20) »

Taglines:

The toughest picture ever made in Britain!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 1961 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Concrete Jungle See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Merton Park Studios See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious and any similarity to actual persons and events is purely coincidental. See more »

Goofs

After Johnny kicks the partygoers out of his apartment, he starts to run a bath then gets out a sun ray lamp, lies on his bed and is about to switch the lamp on when he discovers Suzanne in the bed. There is no scene showing him turning the bath taps off or showing the bath overflowing. See more »

Alternate Versions

Anchor Bay's DVD, whilst otherwise uncut, does not include the melancholy end credit sequence, played over shots of circles of prisoners in the exercise yard. See more »

Connections

Featured in Oil City Confidential (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Kelly's Back
(uncredited)
Music by John Dankworth
Lyrics by Alun Owen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE CRIMINAL (Joseph Losey, 1960) ***
23 August 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

When I was in Hollywood late last year, I managed to watch Losey's classic sci-fi THESE ARE THE DAMNED (1963) - surely Hammer Films' strangest release; at the time, while I had been sufficiently impressed with the film (despite the poor quality of the print I came across but, at least, it was the full-length version!), I had also found the experience somewhat overwhelming.

I couldn't quite explain why I felt this way but, having now watched this contemporaneous title (which, in comparison to the fanciful apocalyptic narrative of THESE ARE THE DAMNED, is a relatively straightforward crime drama of the prison/caper variety), I realized that it was due to the essential stylization of Losey's mise-en-scene which, apart from giving a heightened sense of reality to the already intense proceedings, also rendered the film guilty of a certain pretentiousness (marking virtually every scene) not found in similar genre efforts, certainly British-made - demonstrating a definite change of attitude in cinema towards a greater sense of artistry but also more lenient censorship (the sex and violence in this particular film, while not especially graphic by the standards of even a few years later, are clearly more pronounced than in the previous decade)! Still, to be honest, all of this actually serves to make the film doubly arresting - particularly during this gritty phase of Losey's career (his statelier later work grew increasingly more opaque).

What a cast! Stanley Baker was never better than as the almost legendary con whose individuality makes him an outcast even among his own kind, and he's surrounded by some very fine actors - most notably Sam Wanamaker (as his contact on the outside but who harbors ambitions of taking over the gang), Patrick Magee (his first impressive role as a corrupt and menacing prison warden), Gregoire Aslan (as the ageing mobster who rules the underworld even from inside the penitentiary and to whom everyone - Baker included - must acquiesce) and Nigel Green (as Baker's double-crossing associate). Surprisingly, the supporting cast is peppered with faces familiar from several horror films like Rupert Davies (WITCHFINDER GENERAL [1968]), Edward Judd (THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE [1961]), Murray Melvin (THE DEVILS [1971]), John Van Eyssen (HORROR OF Dracula [1958]), Noel Willman (THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE [1963]), Kenneth J. Warren (THE CREEPING FLESH [1973]) and Patrick Wymark (THE BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW [1971]).

Speaking of which, Hammer Films stalwart Jimmy Sangster reportedly contributed to the excellent screenplay (actually credited to A HARD DAY'S NIGHT [1964] scribe Alun Owen!). The film's remarkable and claustrophobic black-and-white cinematography is by the great Robert Krasker (Oscar winner for THE THIRD MAN [1949]). Another big plus is Johnny Dankworth's jazzy score, featuring a recurring ballad sung by Cleo Laine.

While essentially character-driven, the film's seedy milieu and sadistic streak allows for a number of vivid sequences (though the race-track robbery itself is rather thrown away!) including the wild party held at Baker's flat on being released from prison (highlighting sexy Margit Saad who subsequently replaces Jill Bennett as Baker's moll), the equally chaotic prison riot, Baker's escape from the penitentiary (having been betrayed after the robbery and recaptured) and the inevitable showdown with the ruthless Wanamaker.

Unfortunately, apart from the theatrical trailer and admittedly extensive talent bios for both Losey and Baker, the Anchor Bay DVD is a bare-bones affair; pity neither of them is around anymore (Baker died far too young in 1976 at age 49 and Losey, already in his 50s when the film was made, followed him in 1984) to have been involved in this otherwise sparkling edition!

Having watched THE CRIMINAL and, more recently, Losey's SECRET CEREMONY (1968), I've rekindled my interest in this important director's work: I have four of his films as yet unwatched on VHS - THE BIG NIGHT (1951), THE ROMANTIC ENGLISHWOMAN (1975), DON GIOVANNI (1979) and LA TRUITE (1982) - and still need to pick up several of them on DVD - EVE (1962; unwatched...if I can find a copy of the Kino disc which includes two different cuts of the film, neither of them the complete 155-minute version!), THE SERVANT (1963), KING AND COUNTRY (1964; unwatched), MODESTY BLAISE (1966), ACCIDENT (1967), the upcoming THE ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY (1972; unwatched) and GALILEO (1975; unwatched).


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