The Big Combo (1955)
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as Police Lt. Leonard Diamond
as Joe McClure
as Mr. Brown
as Susan Lowell
as Sam Hill
as Mr. Jones
as Bennie Smith, Boxer
as Young Detective
as Lab Technician
as Photo Technician
as Fred - Hotel Clerk
as Miss Hartleby
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Critic Reviews for The Big Combo
It is done with grim melodramatics that are hard-hitting despite a rambling, not-too-credible plot, and is cut out to order for the meller fan who likes his action rough and raw.
Where the usual noir takes place in a nightmare world, this one seems to inhabit a dream: there's no longer fear in the images, but rather a distanced, idealized beauty.
Noir wasn't new in 1955, but The Big Combo still found plenty of life within its limits.
Audience Reviews for The Big Combo
A vicious underworld kingpin (Richard Conte)(and the best thing in the movie) likes his job okay, especially the killing whoever I want part. Cornel Wilde plays the cop out to stop him, while Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman are (of course, cause they always are) the evil unthinking henchmen. This saga, while it looks good, lacks pep, vim, and vigor. Time to get that Saturday afternoon nap in.
The characters in "The Big Combo" aren't well-drawn or well-acted and there lies one of the film's biggest problems. While the script does have some interesting twists, it's flimsy and thinly written. Richard Conte provides a somewhat memorable performance, but the rest of the characters are instantly forgettable. "The Big Combo" works well when it comes to passing an hour and a half, but there's nothing about it that'll make you want to watch it again.
Cornel Wilde stars as detective in love with society girl and gangster's moll Jean Wallace whose suicide attempt gives him the name "Alicia"; the clue that could be the break he needs to bring the sinister kingpin down. The Big Combo is the kind of Film Noir that feels like it's trying a bit TOO hard to be Film Noir. It has much to admire, mostly from a stylistic standpoint and has some excellent visual moments, but underneath it feels a little stale. The plot is simplistic and rather episodic, it misses the witty, literary dialogue of the best of the genre and Wilde and Richard Conte as his evil nemesis make for rather bland protagonists. What makes the film are some superbly directed scenes of gritty violence that invariably lack these two characterless adversaries; the joy of the film is definitely to be found in the supporting cast. Best of all are the two sexually ambiguous assassins played by a young Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman and Wilde's burlesque queen love interest, someone I wished we'd seen a lot more of. If you're a fan of Noir it's well worth it for the highlights and cinematography but if you're new to the genre, there are much better starting points.
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