Sunday, August 9, 2015

CRIME WAVE (1954)


This taut film is a good one of the era. Plenty of Los Angeles location filming helping to carry off the believability factor. A world-weary, disgruntled and toothpick-chewing Sterling Hayden plays a detective without much compassion. His “driving” in the studio prop auto is hilarious as he stares out the windshield, mesmerized by traffic, as the car rocks back and forth in repetition. He had just played a policeman in “Suddenly” in which any tender piece of dialogue was delivered with the sensitivity of a WWF wrestler. Once again Ted De Corsia plays a mobster. After release from prison his latest robbery scheme pressures former cellmate, Gene Nelson, to join in. Now going legit, Nelson wants no part of it. But after his wife’s life is held accountable he plays along for her safety. And with clever end results. Phyllis Kirk plays the wife, here reunited with her co-star from, “House of Wax,” the soon to be renamed, Charles Buchinsky. Timothy Carey’s uncredited role as “Johnny” is about as creepy as it gets. His cult status character has significant mental and emotional problems. He almost seems out of place in the film since we have no connection to him before he just shows up in the last third of the film. And is unforgettable. In the end, there is a beating heart inside Hayden and understands Nelson’s motive for eluding the authorities.

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