Monday, August 3, 2015

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

(SLWB - September 21, 2011)
Welcome to THE JUNGLE!

Directed by John Huston and stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marilyn Monroe, and Jean Hagen. The Asphalt Jungle tells the story of Dix "don't bone me" Handley (Sterling Hayden).  'Doc' Riedenschneider (Jaffe), a legendary crime "brain" just out of prison, has a pen hatched plan for a million-dollar diamond burglary.

He approaches a small time racing "fixer" Cobby ( Marc Lawrence) who in turn arranges with dishonest lawyer Alonzo Emmerich (Calhern) to finance the heist of a million dollar diamond haul from a jewellery firm. He recruits safecracker Louis, driver Gus, and muscle  Dix Handley. Movie posters tried cashing in on Marilyn Monroe (see below) but she actually has a very small part in this film.

This is a nice tight running yarn with Hayden doing some of his best work. Marilyn Monroe is great in a small part as a young mistress of the creepy Louis Calhern. She calls him "Uncle" and the way Calhern is leering you can just imagine what she does with his lollipop.

This film is beautiful in how it examines relationships, depicts deceptions, greed and sexual lust. It abounds is some memorable dialogue, also.

A gritty, tough, no-nonsense crime story where you know that things will eventually go wrong, but it keeps you guessing as to the why and when.  Tension ratchets ever upwards from the first scene to the frantic ending.

The DVD I have is the Warner Brothers 2004 release, commentary track is by Drew Casper and actor James Whitmore

A 10/10.

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