Friday, May 16, 2014
The Asphalt Jungle is one of my favorite films.
It's a film noir from 1950 directed by John Huston. It starred Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, Sam Jaffe, Louis Calhern, James Whitmore, Anthony Caruso, and Marc Lawrence. Marilyn Monroe appears in a small role that was her first on film.
Jaffe is a smart, older criminal who's just gotten out of prison. While in jail, he conceived a jewel robbery that just can't go wrong. He hires slow-witted thug Hayden and wise-cracking thug Whitmore, gets the aid of safecracker Caruso, and goes to bookie Lawrence for funding. Lawrence, a weaselly and frightened man, can float the dough, but he can't fence the jewels. So they have to go to high-class criminal lawyer Calhern. While Hayden takes care of down-on-her-luck burlesque star Hagen, Calhern is wildly spending all his money on buxom platinum blonde Monroe.
It also goes horribly wrong, torturing the five men responsible for the heist, and destroying the lives of the two women who love them.