May 12, 2017
The Big Combo.
Review #934: The Big Combo.
Cornel Wilde (Police Lt. Leonard Diamond), Richard Conte (Mr. Brown), Brian Donlevy (Joe McClure), Jean Wallace (Susan Lowell), Robert Middleton (Police Capt. Peterson), Lee Van Cleef (Fante), Earl Holliman (Mingo), Helen Walker (Alicia Brown), and Jay Adler (Sam Hill) Directed by Joseph H. Lewis.
When it comes down to film noirs, there is always something interesting about their appeal, whether it be due to the cast (or supporting cast), the way that it is shot, the way that it is structured, or even just the way that it is on an entertainment level. The Big Combo (produced by Theodora Productions and Security Pictures while distributed by Allied Artists Pictures) stands out in how nifty it operates with the cast and pacing. It isn't a great movie, but it certainly is a good enough movie that works on enough entertaining levels. It has a raw edge to it (particularly with one scene involving tonic) that underlies a fairly well-moving gangster movie. Wilde and Wallace (who were married at the time) have their fair share of moments together that work due to how they balance each other and their roles simply and coherently. Conte is a capable villain, giving this character the professional touch required for the movie. Donlevy does a fine job as the right-hand man to Conte, and they do a fine job balancing out their nefarious operation. The rest of the cast are serviceable in their supporting roles, not doing anything to ruin the balance or tone. The latter half of the movie is well executed, with Conte's fate being particularly memorable to watch; the climax in a foggy hangar is done quite well. At 87 minutes, it certainly has a good pace to it that is readily accessible. It's the final scene, with Wilde and Wallace standing in the airport with fog and shadows around them that stands out among the rest, with the credit going to John Alton and his cinematography that resulted in such a nice shot in a movie that works best as a neat little film noir gem.
On a different note, I graduate from my local college (South Texas College) today, with an Associate's Degree in Secondary Education in hand. What a ride it has been for four semesters, especially with how Movie Night has operated around it. With any luck, the reviews will keep coming, no matter what the next step is for me as long as I continue to enjoy doing them, which I still do. Thank you.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.