This is one of those extravagantly stylized late-period noirs, one which palpitates with flamboyant cinematic technique. It belongs in the same club as those other exaggerated, self-consciously arty noirs of the late 50s/early 60s, like Touch of Evil, Kiss Me Deadly, Blast of Silence and Sam Fuller's contemporaneous contributions to the genre. Wendkos directs like a recent A+ film school graduate showing off every Hitchcock and Welles trick he's learned -- there are many stunning edits (he is also credited as the film's editor), several strikingly composed shots, and a suitably seedy background (the fact that the crooks' hideout is right next to a railway line full of speeding streamliners is a boon). At the same time, he toes the studio line of narrative clarity and cohesive action scenes enough to make this suitable viewing for the non-buff (one can see why he spent most of his years in television, but at the same time could dazzle with over-the-top effects in The Mephisto Waltz.) Fans of Atlantic City's Steel Pier are in for a treat in the film's climax (which owes a bit too much to The Lady from Shanghai) -- we even get to see the diving horse. But notably, we also see the soggy marshes that border the city and reflect the protagonists' own situational quagmire. It may not have the integrity of the more subtly devastating noirs of the Siodmak 40s, but it has its own postmodern tradition to uphold. It's worth picking this one up even on the third-generation dupes that are now in circulation; a wide-screen dvd restoration is definitely in order.
Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller
Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller
Nat, Gladden, Baylock and Dohmer comprise a disparate band of Philadelphia-based thieves, who, despite their differences, are able to pull off their latest heist of a bejeweled necklace which Baylock, the jewelry specialist, appraises at $150,000 retail. The heist itself was not without its problems, they having a couple of close calls in the process. The heist only exacerbates the issues between the four. Baylock has always had problems with Gladden who he sees as adding nothing to their gang, while brutish Dohmer always seem solely to want to manhandle her. While Nat realizes that they have to hold on to the necklace until things cool down in it being too hot, Baylock, on parole, wants to get rid of it as soon as possible to reduce their risk. While most realize they will ultimately only be able to get a fraction of the retail amount, Dohmer wants to push for as close to retail as possible. Through it all, Nat, the leader, seems to have a protective nature toward Gladden - the reason he comes to her defense against Baylock and Dohmer - even though the others can see that he isn't interested in her in a romantic sense. Nat, in turn, is unaware that Gladden is indeed in love with him. While the four lay low together with Baylock and Dohmer in particular going stir crazy, Nat is able to convince Gladden to hide out in the open somewhere else - the choice being Atlantic City - to protect her against those stir crazy feelings of the other two. When Nat eventually discovers that Gladden is in danger from someone who believes she may be in possession of the necklace, the reason her pursuer believes she was sent away, Nat, who is still the holder of the jewels, feels obligated to protect her at all cost. —Huggo
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 14, 2021 at 06:51 PM