4 September 2007 | ccthemovieman-1
This Is Film Noir!
This is excellent example of film noir: almost everything you'd want in this genre. Right from the opening shot, this had noir written all over it by cinematographer Bert Glennon, and from opening holdup-murder scene at the gas station, you knew you were in for a rough ride.
Speaking of "rough," I can't think of too many actors who were better and more suited for noir than Sterling Hayden, who delivers yet another uncompromising hard-headed, tough- guy character. This time he's a cop, "Det. Lt. Sims," and one with no use for any "con," even if the guy (in this case, Gene Nelson's "Steve Lacey") has cleaned up his act.
It wasn't just the photography and Haden, the entire cast was fascinating, and it's simply a fast-moving, entertaining film. Andre de Toth's direction also was terrific. He directed only one other noir: Pitfall, another great film that we are still waiting to see on DVD. At least this film finally made it to disc.
I had forgotten what classic beauty Phyllis Kirk possessed. Wow, what a face! She starred as "Nora Charles" on the popular "Thin Man" television series in the '50s. In here, she plays Lacey's wife "Ellen." Rather that going through the whole cast, I'll just say it was a hoot to see Timothy Carey again, even if his role was limited. This guy played the most whacked-out minor characters I've ever seen in movies. (See "The Killing" for a good example of what I mean.) Jay Novello as the veterinarian ex-con also was really interesting.
I'll tell you what else was nice: the realistic scenes with actual locations around Los Angeles in the early '50s. This movie had a number of hand-held camera shots. Even the holdup in the bank was done in a real bank. There are few, if any, hokey studio shots in this movie. It's the real deal..... and very much recommended. Combined with "Decoy" on the same disc, it makes for a nice double--feature for a night of noir.