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directed by Robert Wise
USA 1959

There is so much that I liked about this film - Robert Wise, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame (always had a crush on her), but although it has some strong noir elements, the ending is quite a let-down. I loved the music, the landscapes, Wise's use of shadow, but even with a subtle 'lesson' in the final scene - it seemed trite. A shame that it falters because it may be Ryan's best performance - maybe Begley's too. NOTE: Shelly Winters is in the film for, as baseball aficionados would describe, "a cup of coffee" and her characters purpose seems pointless at that. Still seeing Wise do classic but individualistic Noir (as with The Set-up) I was intrigued enough to give it out of  .

Gary W Tooze  

This ambitious but mainly unsuccessful 1959 black-and-white heist thriller--a loose adaptation of a John P. McGivern novel that is credited to John O. Killens and Nelson Gidding but partly written by blacklisted writer Abraham Polonsky--founders on allegorical positioning, although the location photography of Manhattan and upstate New York has its moments. Three desperate individuals (producer Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Ed Begley) plan to rob a small-town bank, and the racial conflict between the first two threatens to gum up the operations. Begley, in some ways the most interesting member of the trio, is sadly the least explored, and the jazz score by John Lewis and the roles played by Shelley Winters and Gloria Grahame mainly represent other missed opportunities. Jean-Pierre Melville worshipped this film, though I'm not clear why.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review found HERE


Theatrical Release: October 15th, 1959 - USA

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DVD Review: MGM-  Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution MGM - Region 1- NTSC
Runtime 1:36:00
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.48 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) 
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: MGM Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None 

DVD Release Date: December 2nd, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 20


Standard fare from MGM - good, but not great image. Decent shadow detail and contrast - choice of three removable ugly-yellow subtitles - no extras at all. This is a pretty interesting film from a master director, it would have been nice if they had put some effort into it as it was released only last year (2003).  out of         

Gary W. Tooze

Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)




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Distribution MGM - Region 1- NTSC

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