The Big Combo (1955)

I love Film Noir...(for cryin'-out-loud, look at the name of this blog) and this is one of the best!  Cornel Wilde stars as a cop determined to take down Mr. Brown (doesn't that remind you of Reservoir Dogs?), a bookkeeper (played by Richard Conte) for an absent crime boss, now running the outfit himself.  Our vixen Susan (Jean Wallace), a sad-eyed moll caught between the two antagonists, "realizes she’s in over her head, and doesn’t see any way out except suicide. She attempts it in one of the film’s early scenes, then spends the rest of The Big Combo looking as if she wishes she’d succeeded." (Keith Phipps).

REVIEWS:  Film critic Howard Thompson (known as H.H.T. in the NY Times) absolutely panned this movie in his March 26, 1955 New York Times review, glibly stating, "Even with the "combo" of a capable cast, headed by Cornel Wilde and Richard Conte, and the kernel of a provocative plot, the result is a shrill, clumsy and rather old-fashioned crime melodrama with all hands pulling in opposite directions."  I think H.H.T. simply didn't have the advantage of hindsight when he wrote this.  Shrill clumsy and old-fashioned are kind of at the heart of Film Noir as discussed by Richard Brody in a July 23, 2014 article in the New Yorker entitled,  Film Noir: The Elusive Genre.  An excellent modern review (and it seems I used some of the same thoughts before reading this review) by Keith Phipps at The Dissolve.

FAVORITE QUOTE:  Mr. Brown: I'm gonna give you a break. I'm gonna fix it, so you don't hear the bullets.  [Removes a character's hearing aid]

RATED: Most excellent!

WATCH IT AGAIN: Definitely!

DO I WANT TO OWN IT?:  If it wasn't available on YouTube, I definitely would!

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