Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

1952

Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 758
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Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four) Photos

Movie Info

Kansas City Confidential, Phil Karlson's low (low) budget, B-grade film noir, opens on a Kansas City armored-car robbery perpetrated by cynical, corrupt ex-policeman Timothy Foster (Preston S. Foster). Foster devises an outrageous scheme: he will recruit three of the most vicious and unrelenting criminals he can find (screen heavies Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam and Neville Brand) to undertake a robbery, blackmailing them into the heist with incriminating evidence from other "jobs." As an eccentric and clever conceit, Foster forces each of the perpetrators to wear masks, thus concealing their identities from one another and preventing the old pitfall of the men squealing and backstabbing. The heist comes off without a scratch, but a complication arises when the ignorant cops pick up an unrelated fellow, Joe Rolfe (John Payne) for his ownership of a van similar to the one used in the caper. In time, Rolfe is cleared, but he grows irate over the accusations and sets off to find Foster and co. and teach them a lesson. He finally happens upon one of the perpetrators in Mexico, beats him nearly to death, and assumes the victim's identity - and that's when things really get complicated. Though produced under the Hays Code censorship regulations, Kansas City Confidential constituted one of the most brutal and violent crime pictures made up through that time; as such, it retains historical significance. It also claims a strong cult following.

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Cast

John Payne
as Joe Rolfe
Coleen Gray
as Helen Foster
Preston S. Foster
as Timothy Foster
Lee Van Cleef
as Tony Romano
Dona Drake
as Teresa
Jack Elam
as Harris
Ted Ryan
as Morelli
Vivi Janiss
as Mr. Rogers
Helen Kleeb
as Mrs. Crane
Kay Wiley
as Woman
Harry Hines
as News Vendor
Al Hill
as Shooter
Sam Scar
as Player
Joey Ray
as Houseman
Paul Hogan
as Bouncer
Ric Roman
as Brother
Sam Pierce
as Workman
Edward Coch
as Airline Clerk
William Haade
as Detective Barney
Charles Cane
as Detective Mullins
Ray Bennett
as Prisoner
Joe Ray
as Houseman
Carleton Young
as Assistant District Atty. Martin
Phil Tead
as Collins
Lee Phelps
as Jailer
Archie Twitchell
as Police Dispatcher
Don House
as Policeman
Jack Shea
as Policeman
Tom Dillon
as Policeman
Tom Greenway
as Policeman
Paul Fierro
as Paul Garcia
Charles Sherlock
as Stickman #1
Frank J. Scannell
as Stickman #4
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Critic Reviews for Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

All Critics (12) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

  • Nov 08, 2013
    A perfect crime needs a perfect fall guy and, after 3 beatings by police questioners, this fall guy goes looking for the guys that set him up. There's plenty of gunplay and fisticuffs in this tough story about tough guys in a tough world, lots of tension, twists and turns, but it's worth it by the end.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2012
    One of the more influential film noirs to emerge from the 1950s, "Kansas City Confidential" is a competent enough crime thriller and sure-handed effort from director Phil Karlson. While it isn't involving and is especially lacking in several aspects that are crucial in keeping the viewer interested, it's at least worth watching for the impact that it has surely had on many modern crime thrillers.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2011
    "Kansas City Confidential" is a low budget B-grade film noir that holds up quite well 60 years after it's theatrical release. This is certainly a film that fans of film noir will appreciate and should enjoy. While this isn't at the level of some of the genre's greats, it is a fun and entertaining look into a heist that is pulled off but filled with several twists and crosses. The acting is a little over the top at times and too staged, but overall holds together to not make the film unintentionally humorous. At the time of it's release, "Kansas City Confidential" was one of the most brutal and violent crime films to ever be committed to film.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 18, 2010
    May have inspired Affleck's The Town a bit. Also a bit similar to The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (the original at least). A bank heist is masterminded. The big man in charge wears a mask when he hires Pete Harris (Jack Elam), Tony Romano (a young Lee Van Cleef), and Boyd Kane (Neville Brand). They are to wear masks when they pull off the crime so they won't know each other. They each are given a ripped in half playing card as their calling card for divvying up the take later in Mexico. We know that they each have their recognizable characteristics. We know that the mastermind is Tim Foster (Preston Foster) and later find out he is an ex-cop. Joe Rolfe (John Payne) works for a flower delivery service and drives a truck identical to the one the bank robbers use for their get away. After being roughed up by the cops and then released when his innocent story checks out, he goes after the real criminals. He wants in on the four way split of the cash. At a resort in Mexico the mugs start gathering to claim their share and it is obvious they won't have too hard of a time identifying each other. But will they figure out who the mastermind is? Foster strangely doesn't seem to be aware that something is amiss when Rolfe claims the name Harris, even though he knows the men he hired. It turns out there is more to his plan. Foster's daughter is a wild card in the mix. She arrives to visit her dad on his regular fishing trip as a surprise and starts a relationship with Harris/Rolfe. There is a lot of shuffling of who will come out on top. Much of the dialog and action is hard-bitten and enjoyable. Compared to Detour though, another entry in the Film Noir Collector's Edition DVD's, there are moments like the end when it lightens and becomes more melodramatic.
    Byron B Super Reviewer

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