Monday, September 1, 2014

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Director: John Huston

Writers: Ben Maddow, John Huston. W.R. Burnett

Composer: Miklos Rozsa

Starring: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marc Lawrence, Barry Kelley, Anthony Caruso, Teresa Celli, Marilyn Monroe, William 'Wee Willie' Davis, Dorothy Tree, Brad Dexter, John Maxwell, Frank Cady, Strother Martin, Jack Warden

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The City Under the City

Plot: A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

The pedigree of this thing with everyone behind and in front of the camera is huge.  It's a great flick where the heist goes right but the dominoes start falling one by one after it's over, leaving no one safe.  This is a great companion piece to Kubrick's THE KILLING (1956) which also stars Hayden in an even more badass mode.  This picture has a few surprises.  Nearly every main character breaks the law in some way...and you're rootin' for 'em.  Part of it might be because films back then didn't allow for the bad guys to get away with it but then we're also spending nearly all of our time with these crooks and barely anything with the cops (and even some of the cops are crooked).  I REALLY like how Doc's (Jaffe) storyline plays out.  The way the camera fixates on what he's watching and thinking is powerful stuff.  Great Miklos Rozsa score, too.  It's a great film all the way around and a must-see for fans of film noir or crime pictures in general.  The Warner Bros. DVD is pretty light on extras (you know, considering how famous this picture is and all) with a brief introduction by John Huston, the theatrical trailer and a commentary by Drew Casper and James Whitmore (I'd be really interested to hear what Whitmore has to say).

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