A great crime thriller from Robert "The
Haunting/Curse of the Cat People" Wise, and based on the 1957 novel
(same title) by
nowadays sadly forgotten Master of Pulp Fiction - William P.
McGivern, the author who also wrote crime classics as The Big
Heat (filmed by Fritz Lang in 1953), Rogue Cop (filmed by Roy Rowland
in 1954) and Shield For Murder (filmed in 1954) and you
can read about them on this my Film Noir & Pulp Fiction Fan page.
The US novel in a Pocket Book Cardinal 1959 2nd edition
Old cop Burke (Ed Begley) plans a Heist, a bank-robbery
in a small industry-town, and he needs 2 able men for the job.
He talks the nightclub singer and musician Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte),
a guy with some heavy debts to a mob boss,
into joining, and he talks Earle Slater (Robert Ryan) into doing the
Slater, a middle-aged money-less desperate man who parasites on, feeds
off, his girlfriend Lorry (Shelley Winters) and who
with Heist sees his chance, his last chance, to avoid being stuck at
nowhere as a looser. Ryan gives an amazing performance,
a very interesting one, crackling with tension, of a man filled with
self-contempt and almost bursting of aggression.
But, there's another problem too with the planned heist
- besides Slater being something of a walking keg of gun powder
ready to explode, he's also racist and he hates black people. Ryan gives
a disturbing performance, one of the great KING
Actors, an actor that you can't take your eyes off, an actor that seems
to fill the movie screen, always phenomenal.
Harry Belafonte plays the marimba and sings a cool nightclub
song, what a voice he had, and he's fine as Johnny too.
The film was presented in 4:3 fullscreen original ratio, black &
white, english mono audio and a trailer