Friday, July 21, 2017

Movie review - "Criss Cross" (1949) ****1/2 (re-viewing)

In an earlier review of this film on this blog, I regarded it as a story-lite remake of The Killers. Seeing it on the big screen I was knocked out what a good movie it is, brilliantly shot and directed (by Robert Siodmak).

The story held up better than I originally thought, and there were heaps of things I didn't notice - notably the richness of the support cast: the slimy waiter, amiable bartender, drunken girl at the bar, the fiancee of Lancaster's brother, his brother, the collection of gangsters (the quiet spoken white haired guy, the drunken mastermind of the operation, the tubby gangster, the lean one).

The story was full of richness I hadn't noticed - the interplay between the gangsters, the level of Lancaster's addiction for Yvonne de Carlo, Lancaster's family life (his brother Richard Long gets his girl to kiss him by "mock" threatening to hit her).

De Carlo isn't fantastic (this film shows that she was never an A-tier star... she simply doesn't have the charisma) but she's pretty good and has that fantastic dance moment where Lancaster sees her dancing (with Tony Curtis) after a long absence. Lancaster is superb - with his physique and puppy dog eyes, hopelessly hooked on de Carlo (for a macho star Lancaster was excellent at playing sensitive). Dan Duryea is good as always as the gangster.

A really superb film noir.

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