28 November 2016 | MartinHafer
Clark is great as a killer with no soul.....
In post-war America, audiences were eager to see crime in a whole new light--both literally and figuratively. Instead of the old gangster films of the 1930s with their rather conventional characters, the film noir films of the post-war era featured darker characters, heightened realism, unusual and dark camera work as well as a certain fatalism that set them apart from previous gangster films. Not surprisingly, these noir sensibilities soon made their way abroad. The French, in particular, made some dandy noir pictures....and "Gunman in the Streets" is a sort of hybrid. It's a film with an American star and and international cast...set in France.
While Dane Clark was never a top-tier star in the States, he was excellent at playing cold-hearted characters...and here he's about as cold and vicious as they come. While his character is awaiting trial for other crimes, he makes a daring but failed attack on an armored car with his gang....and he alone escapes. The film is about this thug's attempt to escape with the aid of his girlfriend (Simon Signoret) and some unexpected help from a dumb sap who is also in love with the girl!
The bottom line is that although the camera-work is not classic noir, the nastiness of the leading character certainly is...as is the very downbeat ending. Remember...noir films are NOT intended to follow formulae nor are they intended to leave the audience happy...and this film succeeds on both accounts! Well worth seeing...particularly just to watch Clark do what he does best...play nasty and vicious thugs.