Audio / Video Hobby-ism since 1993

Forget the Quality, Feel the Width

8 Apr 2009

Film Noir a Day Fortnight - The Big Combo

Paul has sauntered through day two of the 'Film Noir a Day fortnight'.
The Big Combo (1955). Another detective trying to break an unbreakable criminal ring. A brilliant performance by Richard Conte as a ridiculously confident mobster whose catchphrase is "First is first and second is nothing at all". A great scene where a hearing aid as a torture device. Beautifully shot by John Alton who 'lensed' other great Noirs such as 'T-Men', 'Raw Deal', 'Border Incident' & 'He Walked by Night'. The final shoot out, where a fleeing Conte is lit by a single arc-lite, controlled by the lead female character in an abandoned warehouse is a materful distillation of Noir's themes and powers. 

Joseph H Lewis also directed 'Gun Crazy' (1949) which shares this film's air of bubbling hysteria. The film was produced by Allied Artist studios, formely 'Monogram', a B-movie stalwart who, after failed attempts at breaking into 'A' pictures, concentrated their efforts on the exploitation market: cheap thrills for the young adult market.

 Noir scale: mid-grey to Jet Black

Reference: 'Film Noir' by Eddie Robson. Virgin Film books. 2005

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