- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Only Hole in the Plot
- Thomas Brier
The story is done well and the acting is terrific, especially Elam, Brand and Van Cleef. But when the scene changes to Mexico it is quite obvious who the remaining members of the gang are. There are very few people present at the resort so the gang members stand out.Tom
The Plot is Aces (Actually Kings)
- John Burleigh
The set-up in KCC is very clever and obviously what inspired the m.o.'s in Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 and Reservoir Dogs. It cries out for a more demonic and outlandish "Mr. Big" than Preston Foster's stern, resentful ex-cop (though he's good), and the straight-faced documentary opening seems out of sync with the bizarre, inspired situation. Minuses are its low budget TV-series sets and the rather plodding character of the last half (pointless chatter, especially with Coleen Gray's ingenue, interspersed with one scene after the other of John Payne being slugged by Lee Van Cleef and/or Neville Brand, or Payne whirling and taking guns out of their hands). Still, the opening scenes with Jack Elam are especially good, the excessive brutality of the various gunplay scenes redeems their banality, John Payne's put-upon central character -- essentially the same role he plays in the great 99 River Street -- is a noir prototype, and the plot is aces (actually kings).
- kevin sellers
I agree with the previous reviewer that any film with Jack Elam (not Palance) Neville Brand, and Lee Van Cleef at their smarmy best is impossible not to like. Would that the two leads, played by John Payne and Coleen Gray, were as compelling. Payne is serviceable at best, while Gray is a generically pretty hole in the screen. Obviously, we're light years away from Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, or even Dick Powell and Lizabeth Scott, for that matter. And this noir, although well directed by Phil Karlson, who certainly knows his way around brutal action, is simply not noirish enough. Way too hopeful an ending, with the dull duo kissing and the music swirling. Give it a generous B minus 'cause of the Mexican resort atmo (Mexico was as essential to good noir as night time shadows) and the three great character actors cited above. P.S. If you're gonna set the first third of your movie in Kansas City, you really oughta try not to shoot it on the Universal back lot, with the brown Hollywood Hills looming in the distance! (K.C. was relatively flat, the last time I was through there.)
- Bill Smith
Just the cast; Neville Brand, Jack Palance and Lee Van Cleef have me thirsting for more.The three classic baddies from the fifties.
TAUT, SMART, and DARK...
- el debbo
Noir doesn't get much better than this. The supporting actors are perfect (I could watch Neville Brand all day). I love John Payne as the Everyman, as the washed-up GI who came home to nothin' much. When asked if he got the Purple Heart he snarls, "Yeah, and see if that buys you a cuppa coffee." The plot line is a little like McQueen's Thomas Crown, and I like the strategic detail. But best of all, it's great to see this destitute, jobless ex-GI, who has been framed and badly beaten, take on the million-dollar bank robbers. All four of them. This is a terrific movie, and the female lead is no slouch either. Fantastic.
the NEARLY perfect crime~ Noir at it's BEST~
- MJ Lung
plot: three cons pull off a heist wearing masks so they do NOT know each other~ GREAT cast.a FIRED ex cop (Preston Foster) sets up a great crime~ hand picking three cons to pull off a brinks type heist~ they wear masks so they do NOT know each other~no one can turn on the other~ this moves very fast and when a patsy is arrested (John Payne) and later released~ he heads to Mexico~ to get revenge on the REAL crooks. the THREE cons are great~ Jack Elam, Lee Van Cleef and Neville Brand. a great plot twist is Foster (the mastermind) plots for the cons to take the FALL and he will collect the INSURANCE MONEY REWARD~ A GREAT PLOT~ CASTING IS FIRST RATE~ 5 stars for casting, PLOT and Noir at it's best.