An international drug-smuggling racket plants heroin on unsuspecting American tourists traveling in Asia, so that the dope traffic can pass through customs undetected. Two psychopathic killers (Eli Wallach and Robert Keith) and their driver Richard Jaeckel then collect the contraband.
Hardly a frame is wasted in this tight-as-a-drum action thriller, bookended by phenomenal car chases.
An early movie from action specialist Don Siegel, it starts out like a tv police procedural with a lot of exposition and the sort of drug talk that was probably quite fresh then but ended up getting parodied in the decades since. Fairly interesting but not really special.
About halfway through it leaves the police behind and starts to focus on two quirky but also very nasty hitmen and the movie picks up enough that combined with some excellent San Francisco location shooting it starts to really grab the attention.
The hitmen search for missing heroin around a bunch of long gone seafront locations before an excellent car chase along a mid construction highway. SF is so resonant in the memory because of dozens of 60s and 70s crime shows and movies (including Siegels own Dirty Harry of course) that the location shooting should appeal to any movie fan
Great film noir from the tail end of the cycle.
A decent crime flick (not my idea of a noir). Nothing really stands out... except Eli Wallach's face. He looks funny, but the guy can act.
Now this is my kind of crime film! It starts off a bit slow, with the obligatory scenes for exposition sake, but once we meet Eli Wallach and the outstanding Robert Keith, this film shifts into overdrive. What made this movie resonate for me was the realism that Don Siegel puts on screen. Correct me if I'm wrong, but was this the first film to show blood dripping from a murder victim's body? I can't recall any other film before this that showed it, as it was banned by the Breen office. Another aspect that I loved were some of the tracking shots that Siegel used and of course the wonderful panoramic shots of San Francisco. Eli Wallach plays the…
Eli Wallach makes a wonderful psychopath and Robert Keith as his mentor is right up there as well, but in my opinion this is falsely advertised as a noir. It's just a very good crime-movie. Nice ending as well.
Tense, terse, offbeat and an excellent character study of two contrasting crooks in a weird symbiotic relationship. Nice stuff.
Classic noir from Don Siegel, featuring a memorable turn by Eli Wallach as a psychotic criminal.
I've been loving all the films on the columbia film noir box sets. This one included