Asphalt Jungle, The (1950)

The Asphalt Jungle (1950), directed by John Huston.

As I said for Double Indemnity (1944), bit by bit the essential classics become available on Blu-ray.

This is not the first heist film, but it is an expert entry in the genre, fleshing out the myth and influencing later movies. What is the clever plan, and how will it go wrong? What flaws does each character bring to trip them up?

The gentlemanly, intellectual and German-accented Doc is just out of prison and has a big jewelry robbery all planned. He needs financing, which is a problem: Doc is reliable, but we can't say the same about everyone he deals with. His other problem: when seconds count his weakness for young women -- not even touching them, but just watching -- will sink him.

Dix is the muscle, unsqueamish and not a deep thinker, but loyal in his way. He hates the city and his dream is to get back to the Kentucky horse farm of his youth. When the job has fallen apart and the bodies accumulate...


... with the police close behind, he drives out of the always-nighttime city into the bright sunny countryside. Delirious, dying, making his way back to his Heaven, the sky filled with billowing cumulus. To get to Heaven you have to die. He doesn't even think about leaving Doll, he never understood what she wanted anyway. Reaching the farm he stumbles out into the pasture and collapses, Doll running for help. The friendly horses come and nuzzle him, angels to bear him away.



Stompanato became so jealous about Turner's relationship with future James Bond actor Sean Connery, he flew to England. He stormed onto the set of Another Time, Another Place threatening Connery with a gun. Unperturbed, the 6 ft 2 in Scotsman, who was a former body builder, bent Stompanato's hand back forcing him to drop the weapon. He was reported to the police and quietly deported from the United Kingdom.

Criterion Blu-ray with an excellent image in some scenes, good throughout. A film critic gives a breathless appreciation.

He makes a good point, that Huston had an unusually wide range in terms of his film genres. Just looking at the ones I have reviewed:


Quirky characters and romance:

Literary adaptations: