The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
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as Dix Handley
as Alonzo D. Emmerich
as Doll Conovan
as Gus Ninissi
as Doc Erwin Riedenschn...
as Police Commissioner
as Lt. Ditrich
as Louis Ciavelli
as Maria Ciavelli
as Angela Phinlay
as May Emmerich
as Bob Brannon
as Dr. Swanson
as James X. Connery
as Franz Schurz
as Night Clerk
as Karl Anton Smith
as William Doldy
as Truck Driver
as Jack; Police Clerk
as James X. Connery
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Critic Reviews for The Asphalt Jungle
One of the first films to depict crime from the POV of the deviants rather than the police, this seminal film (arguably Huston's best) had a huge influence on the genre, manifest in the early work of Kubrick--and decades later Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs
This tale of a jewel theft gone wrong is notable for its gritty procedural detail and an emphasis on the inner lives of the small time crooks, expertly played by Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe.
One of The Asphalt Jungle's strengths is that the crims seem about as thick as you suspect they would be in real life: no Cruise or Clooney-style braniac super-athletes here.
Rogue's Gallery noir classic.
Audience Reviews for The Asphalt Jungle
I was expecting Dix to start talking about our precious bodily fluids at any moment. Like other noirs, it inspired far better movies, and this one gets a bit too preachy regarding the "greater good" of the police and what not. Ok flick, not Huston's best.
John Huston's highly influential heist/noir The Asphalt Jungle resonates so profoundly because of the way its director invests each crew member with personality and motivation. A low-life hooligan with the heart of a farmboy (Sterling Hayden), a German career-con who's really a romantic with a penchant for senoritas, and safe-crackin new father, team up for a jewel caper. Of course crime doesn't pay, but when a film's lawless hoods are as human as these you sure as hell wish it did.
Huston's 1950 Noir about a jewel heist is an incredibly captivating film. Normally when I hear a film described as being about a heist, my mind immediately turns to the myriad examples of bad films centered around a them. For example: Entrapment, The Heist, The Score, Soul Plane
However, much like he in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre, he creates fully realized characters that allow this film to soar high above it's heist film cohorts.
The film centers around a million dollar jewel heist. Sam Jaffe plays Doc Erwin, a criminal mastermind who has been released from prison and is planning another big score. Through a local bookie, he pulls together a group of criminals to get the job done. While the above could summarize many different films, I assure you there is nothing like The Asphalt Jungle.
The film utilizes the POV of the criminals to tell the story. Yet, unlike Reservoir Dogs which some people have equated this film with, this isn't just an hour and a half full of slick dialogue. While they may partake in criminal activities, Huston gives us the people behind the criminal actions. A fantastic Sterling Hayden desires to get money not so he can fund more criminal endeavors, he wants to buy back his families farm that he lost in the Great Depression. The safe cracker Louis wants to support his wife and his kids. Huston does an incredible job of letting the viewer empathize with these characters by letting us see their lives away from planning and executing the job. Huston shows the audience that crime isn't always driven by malice, crime is sometimes just a part of life. Louis Calhern sums this notion up best in the film when he states: "After all, crime is only... a left-handed form of human endeavor..."
While Huston doesn't vilify the criminals, he doesn't deify the cops either. For the most part they are crooked and although they exclaim that they do not want to let the "beasts rule the jungle", they often stand shoulder to shoulder with the brutes.
It is a simply marvelous & thought-provoking film. If Huston keeps this up he will keep moving up on my list of astounding directors.
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