Concrete Jungle (1960)

TV-14   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


Concrete Jungle (1960) Poster

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.


7/10
1,065

Photos

  • Stanley Baker and Margit Saad in Concrete Jungle (1960)
  • Stanley Baker and Sam Wanamaker in Concrete Jungle (1960)
  • Concrete Jungle (1960)
  • Stanley Baker and Margit Saad in Concrete Jungle (1960)
  • Stanley Baker and Margit Saad in Concrete Jungle (1960)
  • Stanley Baker and Margit Saad in Concrete Jungle (1960)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


12 December 2012 | Spikeopath
8
| Knick, Knack, Paddy Whack!
The Criminal (AKA: The Concrete Jungle) is directed by Joseph Losey and written by Alun Owen. It stars Stanley Baker, Sam Wanamaker, Margrit Saad, Patrick Magee, Grégoire Aslan, Rupert Davies and Laurence Naismith. Music is by John Dankworth and cinematography by Robert Krasker.

Johnny Bannion (Baker) is an ex-con who's taken part in the robbery of a racetrack but is caught and sent back to prison; but not before he has time to bury the cash from the gig. Back in prison Johnny is keeping the cards close to his chest but finds there are big crime forces wanting a piece of his action. With plans afoot to "twist" his arm, and his girlfriend kidnapped, Johnny knows something is going to have to give...

All my sadness and all my joy, comes from loving a thieving boy.

Once tagged as being "The toughest picture ever made in Britain", The Criminal obviously seems tame by today's increasingly over the top standards. Yet it still packs quite a punch and shows the very best of Messrs Losey, Baker and Krasker.

In some ways it's a strange film, the pace is purposely slow and the narrative is bolstered by bouts of hang wringing tension, where periods of calm come laced with a grim oppressive atmosphere, but there's often electricity bristling in the air when Bannion (Baker is magnetic and brilliant as he apparently models the character on Albert Dimes) is holding court. Even when on the outside and feeling the love of a good woman, Bannion exudes a loner like danger, he's tough but being a hard bastard can't break him free from the shackles of his life. We know it and you sense that he himself knows it, and it gives the film an exciting edge not befitting the downbeat tone of the story. Characters here have not been delivered from happy land, you will struggle to find someone here who isn't nasty of heart, bad in the head or simply foolish. Inside this concrete jungle it's a multi cultural hive of emotional disintegration, and at the core stirring the honey pot is one Johnny Bannion. The film makers here are all about pessimism, self-destruction and the battle against the system and the underworld, right up to (and including) a finale fit to grace the best noirs of the 40s.

Losey and Krasker ensure the prison sequences are stifling, the walls close in, the bars and netting are unsettling and close ups of the odd ball assortment of crims and warders strike an incarcerated chord, visually it's an impressive piece of noirish film. But it's not just about shadows and filtered light, the director has skills aplenty with his camera. A kaleidoscope shot has a delightfully off kilter kink to it, while his overhead filming and pull away crane usage for the frosty cold finale is as memorable as it is skillful in selection. Musically the pic begins and ends with the soulful warbling of Cleo Laine, the tune is a Prison Ballad (Thieving Boy), and it's tonally perfect, while Dankworth and his orchestra provide jazz shards that thrust in and out of the story like knowing accomplices to fate unfolding. Set design is superb, especially for the recreation of a Victorian prison which is impressive and makes it easy to not lament an actual prison location used, while the supporting actors are very strong, particularly Magee (Zulu) who excels doing sneaky menace as Warder Barrows.

Flaws? Not any if you don't actually expect the toughest film made in Britain back in the day (though it was banned in some countries!). I do wonder why Baker had to be an Irish character and not just be Welsh and therefore do his natural Welsh accent? And if we are are being over critical we could suggest there are some prison stereotypes that even by 1960 were looking frayed around the edges. But ultimately this is tough stuff, a gritty and moody piece of cinema with class on either side of the camera. 8/10

Critic Reviews



Lance Reddick Rolls Our Dice on His Career

From his most memorable scene and unexpected Hollywood encounter to his worst audition, Lance Reddick rolls out the truth about his career.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

Check out IMDb's San Diego Comic-Con coverage, featuring Kevin Smith as captain of the IMDboat, July 18 to 20, 2019, visit our guide to Star Wars, family entertainment, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com