The Big Combo Reviews

  • Aug 02, 2020

    Better than big combo Blobbo order from Wendy's.

    Better than big combo Blobbo order from Wendy's.

  • Jun 24, 2020

    The Big Combo is a great noir crime drama and one of the best "B movies" I've seen. Joseph H. Lewis crafted an engrossing film, and deserves credit on many fronts. With a great economy of style, his scene transitions leave no time for our minds to wander. He also keeps us focused on on-screen details with some fleeting and audacious material for 1955, hinting at a homosexual relationship between Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman and showing the beginning of a particularly overt sexual moment between Richard Conte and Jean Wallace. Lewis and the producers also deserve great credit for assembling such an impressive number of recognizable and skilled actors in a B film: Cornell Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donleavy, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Middleton, Earl Holliman,Ted de Corsia, Jay Adler, Phil Van Zandt and John Hoyt. Aside from a wooden performance from model-turned-actress Wallace, each of them developed their characters well, and quickly. We are treated to a very fine Richard Conte playing to perfection (and to type) a suave and cold-blooded bad guy. Ted de Corsia, with only five minutes of screen time, leaves us feeling like we know everything about his character. And how did they convince tough-guy Brian Donlevy to agree to a role against type, where he plays a defeated and humiliated man who's still in the crime business because that's the only business he knows? Donlevy pulls this off with grace and subtlety.

    The Big Combo is a great noir crime drama and one of the best "B movies" I've seen. Joseph H. Lewis crafted an engrossing film, and deserves credit on many fronts. With a great economy of style, his scene transitions leave no time for our minds to wander. He also keeps us focused on on-screen details with some fleeting and audacious material for 1955, hinting at a homosexual relationship between Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman and showing the beginning of a particularly overt sexual moment between Richard Conte and Jean Wallace. Lewis and the producers also deserve great credit for assembling such an impressive number of recognizable and skilled actors in a B film: Cornell Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donleavy, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Middleton, Earl Holliman,Ted de Corsia, Jay Adler, Phil Van Zandt and John Hoyt. Aside from a wooden performance from model-turned-actress Wallace, each of them developed their characters well, and quickly. We are treated to a very fine Richard Conte playing to perfection (and to type) a suave and cold-blooded bad guy. Ted de Corsia, with only five minutes of screen time, leaves us feeling like we know everything about his character. And how did they convince tough-guy Brian Donlevy to agree to a role against type, where he plays a defeated and humiliated man who's still in the crime business because that's the only business he knows? Donlevy pulls this off with grace and subtlety.

  • Apr 07, 2020

    Great noire. Wilde is very good as is the remainder of the cast. But it's Conte's cruelty, cunning and soullessness that puts him among the best movie crime bosses of all time.

    Great noire. Wilde is very good as is the remainder of the cast. But it's Conte's cruelty, cunning and soullessness that puts him among the best movie crime bosses of all time.

  • Jan 22, 2020

    The Big Combo reminds me what I love about a good film noir. The dialogue is snappy, the protagonist is a tough-as-nails detective looking for the right clues, the bad guys are just despicable and proud of it, and there is atmosphere to spare. It creates a mood that I just love and it makes me feel like throwing on a trenchcoat, lighting up a cigarette, and trying to piece together the evidence with our jaded hero. Admittedly, there isn’t a ton of mystery in The Big Combo. We know who did it, it’s more a matter of finding the proof needed to convict him of his crimes. I still liked the story, and was interested in seeing how it would be resolved. This film feels like a throwback to the early days of noir, in fact it looks a little rough around the edges, even though it was actually released at a time when color film was becoming more common and visuals were getting cleaner than ever before. One thing that is blatantly obvious about The Big Combo, is that it came out after the production code was lifted, because this movie pushed some boundaries. It’s easily one of the oldest American movies I have seen that so blatantly implies a homosexual relationship (and I must admit it was kind of fun seeing where Joss Whedon got the names Fante and Mingo that he used in Serenity.) The performances in The Big Combo are great. I particularly enjoy the devious portrayal of Mr. Brown by Richard Conte. He’s the type of guy you want to see get busted, and that increased my emotional stakes in the film. I did have some difficulties following some of the plot details, though. A couple times they revealed some information, and I didn’t feel like it was all that vital, but it was treated as crucial. Yet, I was into this movie more for the way the story was told than the story itself. The Big Combo is a great example of film noir, and one that I’d gladly watch again to pick up on some of the nuances I missed the first time.

    The Big Combo reminds me what I love about a good film noir. The dialogue is snappy, the protagonist is a tough-as-nails detective looking for the right clues, the bad guys are just despicable and proud of it, and there is atmosphere to spare. It creates a mood that I just love and it makes me feel like throwing on a trenchcoat, lighting up a cigarette, and trying to piece together the evidence with our jaded hero. Admittedly, there isn’t a ton of mystery in The Big Combo. We know who did it, it’s more a matter of finding the proof needed to convict him of his crimes. I still liked the story, and was interested in seeing how it would be resolved. This film feels like a throwback to the early days of noir, in fact it looks a little rough around the edges, even though it was actually released at a time when color film was becoming more common and visuals were getting cleaner than ever before. One thing that is blatantly obvious about The Big Combo, is that it came out after the production code was lifted, because this movie pushed some boundaries. It’s easily one of the oldest American movies I have seen that so blatantly implies a homosexual relationship (and I must admit it was kind of fun seeing where Joss Whedon got the names Fante and Mingo that he used in Serenity.) The performances in The Big Combo are great. I particularly enjoy the devious portrayal of Mr. Brown by Richard Conte. He’s the type of guy you want to see get busted, and that increased my emotional stakes in the film. I did have some difficulties following some of the plot details, though. A couple times they revealed some information, and I didn’t feel like it was all that vital, but it was treated as crucial. Yet, I was into this movie more for the way the story was told than the story itself. The Big Combo is a great example of film noir, and one that I’d gladly watch again to pick up on some of the nuances I missed the first time.

  • Jan 23, 2019

    A b list film film noir is not necessarily a bad thing. And that's the case here as a tight script and dynamic plot keeps things rolling along. Enough charisma in the lead roles help as does a very young Lee Van Fleet. Lacking a bit of subtlety, nevertheless this is a hard-edged, entertaining trip into crime and misdemeanours Stateside.

    A b list film film noir is not necessarily a bad thing. And that's the case here as a tight script and dynamic plot keeps things rolling along. Enough charisma in the lead roles help as does a very young Lee Van Fleet. Lacking a bit of subtlety, nevertheless this is a hard-edged, entertaining trip into crime and misdemeanours Stateside.

  • Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
    Aug 18, 2018

    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.

    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.

  • May 06, 2018

    late night old school dopeness

    late night old school dopeness

  • Nov 01, 2017

    Now that's a noir, a near perfect example of the genre all but left in the past with its dark settings, tough talk, uncompromising men and beautiful femme fatales. I love these low-budget noirs with fresh approach from the 50's like, for example, "Kiss Me Deadly". "The Big Combo" is a film that couldn't have been bad by definition having such an engaging plot. It only got better with careful direction, solid acting and wonderfully shot scenes in black-and-white, a true friend of film noir. Its characters are thought-out to the minute details and it's a pure pleasure to watch them engage with each other. Even such scenes as when the mob boss Mr. Brown is talking indirectly to Lt. Diamond through one of his man is a fascination.

    Now that's a noir, a near perfect example of the genre all but left in the past with its dark settings, tough talk, uncompromising men and beautiful femme fatales. I love these low-budget noirs with fresh approach from the 50's like, for example, "Kiss Me Deadly". "The Big Combo" is a film that couldn't have been bad by definition having such an engaging plot. It only got better with careful direction, solid acting and wonderfully shot scenes in black-and-white, a true friend of film noir. Its characters are thought-out to the minute details and it's a pure pleasure to watch them engage with each other. Even such scenes as when the mob boss Mr. Brown is talking indirectly to Lt. Diamond through one of his man is a fascination.

  • Apr 17, 2017

    I liked this gangster movie though the whole thing with the wife and trying to leverage her to testify against her husband was a bit hooky to me. Overall I enjoyed this crime drama. Obviously a precursor to better gangster movies.

    I liked this gangster movie though the whole thing with the wife and trying to leverage her to testify against her husband was a bit hooky to me. Overall I enjoyed this crime drama. Obviously a precursor to better gangster movies.

  • Jun 12, 2016

    good gangster/mob pic

    good gangster/mob pic