Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four) (1952)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four) Videos

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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.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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
Mario Siletti
as Timaso
Howard Negley
as Andrews
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
Michael Lally
as Shooter
Carlos Rivero
as Player
Sam Scar
as Player
Barry Brooks
as Player
Eddie Foster
as Player
Joey Ray
as Houseman
Paul Hogan
as Bouncer
Paul Dubov
as Eddie
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
House Peters Jr.
as Policeman
George Dockstader
as Policeman
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
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

All Critics (11)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A down and dirty picture with all the requisite blood, sweat and double-crosses. ... The biggest thrill is watching Jack Elam as the most nervous of the hoods.

Full Review… | January 30, 2016
Creative Loafing

...Preston Foster assembles a crew to hold up an armored truck. There's lots of violence and creepy masks involved.

Full Review… | November 20, 2015
Playback:stl

If Kansas City Confidential was a meal, it would consist of a plate full of spice - but no meat.

Full Review… | March 29, 2011
Film Snobbery

Audience Reviews for Kansas City Confidential (The Secret Four)

½

Good but not great noir has a decent story and fine acting but could have been a little more tightly directed. Still if you're a fan of the genre this is an entry to watch.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

½

In spite of it's faults (campy dialog, boneheaded criminals, cheesy ending, etc.) Kansas City Confidential is still a keystone in the evolution of the classic heist film. Essential viewing for fans of the genre.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Kansas City Confidential is more of a heist movie as opposed to a film noir flick. And a pretty decent one at that. The title's pretty misleading as most of the action takes place in Mexico. The action and most of what innovation this movie has takes place mostly in the first act but it ends pretty well. A good supporting cast includes the ever-shifty Lee Van Cleef and the crazy eyed Jack Elam. My biggest gripe is that this movie didn't entirely hold my attention throughout but I was pretty surprised as I was expecting a 50s version of CSI. So it's got that going for it. Which is nice...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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