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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CRISS-CROSS (1949)


While the line-up of talent in front and (especially) behind the camera promise more than this crime caper can deliver, the fabulously polished noir elements make it a pleasure to watch. As the fatalistic inside man for a planned armored car robbery, Burt Lancaster works successfully against his towering presence to play moth to Yvonne De Carlo’s wayward flame (no actress she), and Dan Duryea gets every drop of venom out of his role as her swinish husband. But this pic largely lives by its production elements, the expected ultra-dark atmosphere & those juicy one-note supporting characters. Robert Siodmak really knew how to stage & pace noir thrillers and he’s working with masters of the form like lenser Franz Planer & composer Miklos Rozsa. So, even if some of the plotting feels a bit shopworn, the twists in the third act retain their punch and everything wraps up with all the nihilistic trimmings the genre can offer.

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