The Big Combo

1955

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

91
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 5,742

Synopsis


Downloaded 6,969 times
June 29, 2019

Cast

Earl Holliman as Mingo
John Hoyt as Nils Dreyer
Lee Van Cleef as Fante
Richard Conte as Martin Rome
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
721.12 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
87 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.38 GB
1920×1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
87 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bmacv 9 / 10 / 10

Near the end of the noir cycle, one of its most stylish, innovative films

The Big Combo may be the only film noir ever plugged on the I Love Lucy show (Cornel Wilde guest-starred in the episode which aired April 18, 1955). Coming late in the noir cycle and directed by Joseph Lewis, it seized a position as one of its most innovative and stylish titles. And, with the wizardly John Alton behind the camera, it kicks film noir's distinctive look up into another, rarefied dimension (Alton must have been emulating the Dutch Masters – spare traceries of light limn almost abstract patterns on the screen's primordial blackness). The story, too, stays a primal one of obsession, lust and revenge. Ninety-six-fifty-a-week cop Wilde lives in a cheap flat across from a burlesque house, one of whose headliners (Helene Stanton) he occasionally `sees.' But his only passion is for nailing suave but savage crime boss Richard Conte. Iin a performance brimming with cool menace, Conte is fond of saying `First is first and second is nobody.' Wilde also harbors half-admitted fantasies of riding to the rescue of Conte's remote and unwilling mistress (Jean Wallace, Wilde's off-screen wife). Conte's so possessive that he assigns an intimate twosome of torpedoes (Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman) as her full-time bodyguards (since they're gay, he trusts them to serve as eunuchs). But when they fail to prevent her overdosing on pills, she falls into Wilde's hands at hospital and starts to babble about a woman called Alicia. Another wild card is Conte's lieutenant Brian Donleavy, over the hill and hard of hearing, who chafes at playing second fiddle; he saw himself as heir to the organization when unseen capo Grazzi `retired' to Sicily. His grudge against his boss makes him reckless, placing the whole `combination,' or combo, in jeopardy. Wilde, meantime, has tracked down elusive Alicia, Conte's supposedly murdered wife (Helen Walker, the duplicitous psychiatrist in Nightmare Alley, in her last screen appearance); only she knows where the bodies are buried and can write her husband's death warrant.... The Big Combo counts as one of the more sadistic instalments in the cycle, but the mayhem and executions are played as big set-pieces, as flourishes; Lewis draws on Alton's full fetch of tricks (and in one memorable instance, on the sound editor's) to highlight but at the same time soften their nastiness. There's a streak of sadism in the casting, too: Both Wallace's attempted suicide and Walker's dissipation bring to mind the actresses' private troubles. Innovative and striking, The Big Combo comes as close as any film in the noir cycle to being an art-house triumph; it consolidates Lewis' reputation as an erratic director who was nonetheless capable – here, and with his Gun Crazy – of pulling off something unexpected yet extraordinary.

Reviewed by Arriflex1 8 / 10 / 10

Another "Lost" Noir Classic

Here is yet another gem from the forgotten noir vault. Director Joseph Lewis trades in the quasi-cinema verite style of his GUN CRAZY(1950) for strictly in-studio work and still hits the jackpot. Cinematographer John Alton works his customary chiaroscuro artistry on a fairly straightforward tale of one frustrated but determined police detective longing to collar one supremely confident crime boss. Cornel Wilde plays the cop with stolid righteousness (although the lawman isn't above trysting with a leggy striptease artist). But the filmmakers put the main focus on the calculating yet tortured (and torturing) mobster played by Richard Conte. Conte, spitting out many of his lines with measured bile, is brilliant: a smug, know-it-all killer backed by the ever-ready menace of Lee Van Cleef and the studied goofiness of Earl Holliman. (As written, these two bring a very special dynamic to post-World War II crime melodrama). Brian Donleavy is on hand as a washed up but still scheming mob kingpin. And Jean Wallace plays the high-falutin' moll who yearns to go back to her world of piano recitals and afternoon teas but who just can't get enough of Conte's sinister mojo. This low budget but highly effective noir makes an excellent double feature with another cheap but powerful film of the genre, BEHIND LOCKED DOORS. Both films are highly recommended.

Reviewed by dcavallo 8 / 10 / 10

Sleazy gangster-noir tale of obsession and revenge..

Now that DVD is fast becoming the medium of choice for many film enthusiasts, some lesser known, lower budget titles are finding their way to wider audiences. Joseph Lewis's "The Big Combo" has made this trip to digital, and thankfully none of the film's captivating sleaze has been stripped away in the transfer. What appears to be a fairly stock story of straight-arrow police detective Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) obsessed with capturing a foreboding gangland chieftain, Mr. Brown, "Combo" is an unusually hardboiled, over the top tale of revenge and murder that will please and perhaps even surprise noir and crime-drama fans. Over the course of the protracted investigation, Diamond, who has nearly lost his badge because of his stubborn determination, has fallen for the boss's dame -- a society girl gone so wrong she figures suicide is the only way out. But Mr. Brown (Richard Conte, excellent as the 'last-name only' control freak) is as omnipotent and omniscient as a head pit boss in Vegas, taunting and manipulating every one around him with an unsettling equanimity. He tells Diamond, who is virtually powerless to do anything but temporarily hold the murderous Brown and his men on trivial charges, that "the busboys in his hotel" make more money than he does. Even Brown's right hand man, the hearing impaired McClure (Brian Donlevy)is mercilessly ridiculed for his second tier status. And Brown is obsessed with his prowess with women as Diamond is with capturing him and wooing his moll. The film is filled with risque sexual allusions as wild as anything from director Sam Fuller. In one scene, Brown manuevers around his girl, stopping briefly at her lips, but then dropping out of frame, seemingly down past her waist. And Diamond cavorts with a "burlesque" dancer (with a heart of gold, natch) who appears in a skimpy outfit that is titillating even by today's television standards. But the most ribald bits to make it past the censors involve Brown's bickering henchmen, Fante and Mingo. Fante, played by the aquiline Lee Van Cleef, appears to be a typical hood, but midway through the film the lights come up in a bedroom where the two men have been sleeping in remarkably close quarters. Later, sequestered in a mob-hideout, the two engage in thinly-veiled homoerotic banter that will leave you howling. As will some of the other scenes -- torture by drum solo, a Casablanca inspired finale. Throughout the picture Brown and Diamond dance around one another sans gene, to the sound of gunshots and acid-tongued banter. "The Big Combo" is taut, gutter entertainment, delivered in precise black and white. Even if you do watch it on DVD.

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