Thursday, December 10, 2009

#273: Thieves' Highway

(Jules Dassin, 1949)

Spectacular artwork on this one, and the movie didn't disappoint. This is a strong addition to the film noir genre, complete with backstabbing criminals, street-smart women, and the dark side of life in the city. Like all good noir, the city is as big a character in the film as any of the actors, and San Francisco doesn't disappoint, coming across as a shadowy town where people roam the streets hungry for apples and revenge.

I don't know if I would go so far as to rank it up there with classics like Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, or even Dassin's own Night and the City, which he made after this, but this is the kind of movie that was able to get made in 1949 without much fanfare. If only the average boilerplate thriller was still made with this much craft and intelligence.

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