All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Asphalt Jungle
The City Under the City
Recently paroled from prison, legendary burglar "Doc" Riedenschneider, with funding from Alonzo Emmerich, a crooked lawyer, gathers a small group of veteran criminals together in the Midwest for a big jewel heist.
One way or another, we all work for our vice.
My second John Huston adaptation of a W.R. Burnett novel this week, the first one being High Sierra. Huston co-wrote this one with Ben Maddow, but also directed this time around. It is one of the most influential heist films ever made for the simple fact that Huston and Maddow realized, even at this early stage, that what would make the film great wasn't the heist itself, but the characters involved.
The film is filled with clearly defined characterization with, even more impressively, very specific dialogue styles written for everyone in the film. Combine that with great performances by the entire ensemble cast and you end up with…
I have to admit that I was a bit predisposed to like this movie, I might say even giddy. It stars Sterling Hayden, and he plays two of my favourite characters in two of my favourite films; The Killing, and Dr. Strangelove. While it could be argued, successfully, that he plays the same character every time, I don’t really care. I just love his no nonsense tough guy delivery. Probably even more than James Cagney or Humphrey Bogart.
The first thing that struck me was the absence of score. Beyond the opening, there is none. The second thing that struck me was the sumptuous cinematography. This is a master plying his trade. This is the best looking and photographed Noir…
John Huston's heist noir is grittier than his Maltese Falcon, with Louis Calhern as the respectable criminal who is messing around with a slinky Marilyn Monroe and living on the brink of bankruptcy.
There's a jewellery robbery, a crooked private detective, a cripple, a couple of seedy convicts, and a double cross. It's all standard fare for the genre bit it's so dirty you need to wash your hands when you've seen it.
Small pleasures - Sterling Hayden's thug playing the heavy with his team, playing it soft with his girl Jean Hagen; James Whitmore setting up meetings; Sam Jaffe as the dapper mastermind; Monroe's stretching; Calhern's fop playing cards when his butler calls.
In the jungle no one is…
I like how Marilyn Monroe has retroactively been billed as the star of the film despite having maybe two minutes of screen time.
In some ways, he's the most dangerous of them all. A hardened killer. A hooligan. A man without human feeling or human mercy.
The more I watch this, the more I realize how much of an underrated character Dix Handley is with a great performance by Sterling Hayden. Simple in nature, but he has some layers to him.
I don't know why I expected Asphalt Jungle to be one of the best film noirs ever made. Perhaps it was because I was so familiar with the title that I made that assumption. There is little doubt that my very high expectations contributed to my disappointment.
The film isn't bad by any stretch; it just isn't the masterpiece I thought it would be.
It takes a while for the film to get going, and there is very little drama in the first few segments to be fully engrossing. The word "flat" describes it best but I'm not sure I could explain it if asked.
There is a very long introduction to all of the characters made interesting simply because…
A twisted spiderweb of deceit and double-crossing as an ensemble of criminal types all bank on the success of a big diamond heist, and their own plans to make away with it all, to help serve their own vices.
A steel-jawed Sterling Hayden gives a wonderful performance along many others, including a breakout performance by Marilyn Monroe. A classic John Huston and a classic noir. You can't go wrong. Huston said it best though when he said
"You will not sympathize with any of these people but I hope they interest you."
"Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor."
A desperation supernova.
"Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavour".
Pretty good film noir with a decent cast (I especially liked Sterling Hayden) and beautiful cinematography. The plot holds itself together nicely even if a little more action would have been helpful. Good ending.
John Huston gets props for achieving a sort of "perfect dark" with his camerawork. But a by-the-numbers, overlong noir isn't what I had in mind for a fun afternoon.
A film where the plot dominates over style, character, atmosphere, and overall narrative, where what happens is so loud (metaphorically) that it's hard to judge on other standards. The action is interesting at times, though certain flourishes feel cheap (the soup is just a random out-of-nowhere gimmick, right?), and it all builds up to an inevitable string of crashes and shallow "justices." It's not bad, but any more interesting ideas adrift in the plot were lost on me.
This Black and white film has much more to offer than an appearance by Marilyn Monroe. This film is an action with two opposing male characters working as a team. This film has a much more serious tone than the noir films that followed have.
Direction | 8/10
Screenplay | 9/10
Cinematography | 7/10
Acting | 9/10
Editing | 9/10
Music | 5/10
I found the first half of The Asphalt Jungle to be a fairly standard noir setup, but after the central heist happens things get really interesting. Marilyn Monroe hits her small supporting role out of the park.
Quentin Tarantino's favorite films based on the internet pulled from multiple sources.
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