The Big Combo (1955) Directed by Joseph Lewis
Brian Donlevy as Joe McClure and Richard Conte as Mr. Brown

Mr. Brown: Take a look at Joe McClure here. He used to be my boss, now I’m his. What’s the difference between me and him? We breathe the same air, sleep in the same hotel – he used to own it… now it belongs to me. We eat the same steaks, drink the same bourbon – look, same manicure, same cufflinks – but there’s only one difference. We don’t get the same girls. Why? Because women know the difference. They got instinct. First is first, and second is nobody.

3 Responses to “The Big Combo (1955)”

  1. Rightly compared to Fritz Lang’s THE BIG HEAT, this is one of the most underrated noirs out there, and though a public domain DVD is decent enough, this has long deserved the red-carpet treatment of the majors. It may not be as famous as Lewis’ GUN CRAZY, but it’s just as formidable, and Jean Wallace gives an unforgettable performance. Brilliant screenplay and dialogue for sure.

    The film’s unquestionable star though is iconic cinematographer John Alton, whose black and white chiaroscuro is textbook!

  2. this film is much much better than Gun Crazy.

    it is top 5 noir ever made as far as I’m concerned, possibly my very favorite noir. Richard Conte is a beast in this film. the lighting is incredible. the dialogue is classic. it also might be one of the first movies to feature a slightly homo-erotic undercurrent between two gangsters (Van Cleef and Holliman)

  3. Conte is spectacular. Believe it or not, I’d never seen i before now. I dig Gun Crazy too, but something about this one… i don’t know. Good stuff.

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