Friday 30 May 2008

The Asphalt Jungle [1950]

The Asphalt Jungle wasn’t just one of the most definitive films of the crime genre, it remains a landmark American movie and one of the greatest film noirs ever made. It was one of the earliest movies to show crime from the perspective of the criminals, who have been presented here as otherwise decent people – a thing that was severely prohibited by the draconian Hayes’ Codes. The plot revolves around Doc (Sam Jaffe), a veteran thief, who upon his release from prison, gets together a team to execute one last caper. John Huston, who was a master in depicting the seedier and darker sides of the society, hit bull’s eye with this moody, bleak and deeply nihilistic presentation of crime and the various ironies of life, where the smallest of deviations can separate freedom from incarceration. The Doc, a professional in his field, finds his brilliant heist go awry courtesy some minor blemishes in the characters and actions of those involved, including the mastermind himself. Marilyn Monroe, as a sultry blond seductress, made one of her earliest appearances in this iconic film noir.

p.s. My recent review of this film can be found here.

Director: John Huston
Genre: Crime Drama/Thriller/Film Noir/Ensemble Film
Language: English
Country: US


Joel Bocko said...

The connection with The Killing (which you point out in that review) is fascinating - I'm thinking of doing a piece on both for the upcoming John Huston blog-a-thon in August. As per the recent controversy over "nihilism" on Wonders, I would probably call this film pessimistic, but not quite nihilist - indeed, in some ways it's more moralist in its outlook than The Killing (too much so, if I remember that penultimate monologue correctly...).

I keep wanting to sing off but then I see another great film on your sidebar. You've got me hooked!

Shubhajit said...

I too wouldn't call the film nihilistic. Fatalistic, in my opinion, is the more apt description of this truly brilliant film noir. And the benchmark it created as regards heist films continued to be attempted at by various other film noirs and neo-noirs.

Thanks for expressing your views & opinions for so many of my reviews. And yes, I'd love to read your piece on Asphalt Jungle & The Killing, another movie that I really love.