Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Daily Dose of Darkness #29: Noir City (Opening Scene of The Asphalt Jungle)


Recommended Posts

Here's why I think it's called "The Asphalt Jungle":

 

Not a single tree. Not one green living thing is visible. There is no activity on the streets, no traffic, no people. No children or women. It's all grey and lifeless, steel and concrete and pavement, and gives the impression of a city in the aftermath of some kind of mysterious calamity from which it has not recovered. Apathy. Malaise. A sense of futility and what's -the-use lawlessness.  

 

Mean Streets, indeed!

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

It seemed to me that this scene at least was well named "The Asphalt Jungle". You never see a tree or plant anywhere, just barren streets, menacing cars, and thugs dressed as police. What a bleak scene.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I think of "jungles" I think of wild, untamed places teeming with life, and generally inhospitable to men and women. Sure, men and women could probably carve out an existence in the jungle, but it would be tenuous at best. From the title, I garner a wild, untamed, inhospitable place for men and women, but for instead of wilderness, it is an urban environment. 

 

We have the suit and fedora-clad man, presumably "on the lam". We have the covert "gun hand-off" with the clerk at the coffee shop. We have the victim of a robbery at the police line-up being strong-armed into "fingering" a particular guy by a police detective.

 

Wix obviously has some kind of history with the coffee shop proprietor, as the proprietor hid Wix' gun for him. Also, as the police "crier" is listing off Wix' criminal history, we realize he's done time, escaped, been re-captured, served out his sentence, then was released. Having not yet seen the movie in it's entirety, I'm going to surmise that Wix knows some people from his time in the "the joint" or has partners from previous capers. We will likely be introduced to them and backstabbing and double-crossing will be hard and heavy!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed this opening clip. It grabs you and takes you in. You've been set up for the rest of the film. John Huston always impresses me. Sterling Hayden is a quietly intense actor. I like the way he can almost go over the edge, but then, inwardly, holds back just a bit.

 

I may be going way out on limb here, so, please, bear with me.

 

Dix enters a building called the Pilgrim House. The word "pilgrim" references a traveler; someone who comes from a long distance. There used to be, and still are, pilgrim houses that house pilgrims who are on a religious pilgrimage. The pilgrimage concludes when they arrive at a specific destination. Metaphorically speaking, could this mean that Dix and his fellow thieves are "pilgrims" and that  they will be taking a journey to find their end/destination? The end or destination....being the heist or something else. (Sorry for all the pilgrims and pilgrimages in the text).

 

Gus has a curvature of the spine. He has to cut his vest in order to accomodate it. He is malformed. This makes him different. Dix is different, too. He is a career crook who has spent time in jail. Having a deformity or a criminal past is not acceptable. Certainly not in the early 1950's. They are outcasts. I believe the Pilgrim House represents those who have a common ground and it would be a sanctuary where misdirected and lonely individuals would find comfort and acceptance. Dix and Gus find refuge, commonality and acceptance within their society of criminals, so...that is their Pilgrim House.

I learned recently from a reply on this board that what we see on any given "frame" is there for a purpose. You have peeled back a layer to reveal what some may have missed or not thought about. Your observation, research and conclusion are well thought out.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, there are no plants, flowers or pretty things to indicate this is a pleasant place to live. Even some parts of my hometown Detroit are still like this today. As in deserted streets, not a sign of humanity, except maybe in the shadows.

 

The cops surely know all about Dix when they haul him in at Gus's diner. Clearly Gus knows what to do when Dix arrives. The loud music is quite distracting to the cops so they quickly haul Dix away because they can't stand the loud music.

 

I've never had to be at a police lineup, fortunately. This must have been in an earlier time where the suspects could see the audience. I know nowadays the suspects cannot see the audience so the "if looks could kill" stare down Dix gives to the milquetoast could not happen today.

 

Dix's occupation is listed as "none", but judging by his lengthy criminal record, we know what his true occupation is.

 

The grittiness of the city and the dress of the main characters are a sign that we truly are in a noir city.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

It struck me now deserted and desolate the city looked. You didn't see anyone outside but Sterlig Hayden and the cops. Perhaps "The Asphalt Desert" would have been more appropriate. It was like the city had been wiped out of all life, leaving only bleakness and despair. I'll admit that the police radio playing as the cops were patrolling reminded me of Adam 12,

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own):

 

-- Discuss how this film depicts and utilizes this "unnamed city." Additionally, why do you think the film is entitled "The Asphalt Jungle?"

 

Looking at the city, in many respects, it looks dilapidated, somewhat deserted and unkept. A jungle is in its natural state and left to its own to survive. The city looks as if it has reverted back to its previous state.

 

-- Describe the film noir characteristics, in both style and substance, of these opening scenes. A man in a desperate situation. You see this because he has eluded the police. Something bad is going to happen or has happened. The look of the buildings, the angles made. The lighting in the streets that look like the ruins of a war torn area. The lighting in the police station and how the characters are captured.

 

-- Why are these opening scenes an interesting choice for a "heist film?" What are we learning about one of its major characters (Dix) that might be important for later in the film (and I'm not asking for any spoilers, just character insight)?

 

The sense of urgency is seen by Dix trying to get to a safe place away from the police. Has he committed some crime or is he in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dix seems to be cool under pressure and intelligent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

     This "unnamed city" is depicted as a desolate place. The buildings are crumbled ruins and there are no visible inhabitants. It reminds me of a memorable Twilight Zone episode. For the moment, the only humans left are Dix, the police in the squad car and the man in the diner. Prey versus predator. It makes so much sense to compare this place to a jungle.In a jungle there are dangerous creatures (animals and humans) and those that are victimized(animals and humans). There it is done for survival. In this unnamed city made of asphalt, there are dangerous creatures preying on others, not for survival but for misguided greed.

     The noir characteristics I noticed is the loneliness, the desolation, corruption, deceit, fear, crime, police streets and alley ways that are criss-crossed. It is filmed in a semi documentary realistic fashion. The glaring intimidation of the robbery witness by Dix in the darkened police interrogation/identification room is pure nior for me. Although the opening scene is shot in the daytime, the police radio and the music set the tense melodramatic tone.

     The scene in the police room is filmed so cleverly that the viewer learns that Dix has a long criminal record, has escaped from jail and is savy enough to get away with his most recent heist by using his contacts and his menacing stare down.

      I once heard that Houston insisted that the radio be played full blast in the diner scene in order to add tension. It was very effective.

       

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening scene of John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle (MGM 1950) depicts dawn somewhere on the wrong side of the tracks of an unnamed Midwestern city (Cincinnati?).

 

Miklos Rozsa’s score sets a moody, ominous tone that fits perfectly with the drab, overcast tones of Harold Rosson’s dawn cinematography.  A police radio mixed with the score accompanies a patrol car as it meanders through desolate streets.

 

Ben Maddow’s screenplay is from a 1949 W.R. Burnett novel.  The title aptly describes the level of crime in this city as well as the difficulties of the urban experience.

 

We first see the character Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden) walking alone.  When the patrol car approaches he doesn’t panic, but takes a left and tucks in behind the column of a railroad delivery siding.  When two cops find him in Gus Minissi’s (James Whitmore) café, Dix says nothing and remains impassive when they book him on “****.”  Later in the police lineup, Dix gives his last night’s crime victim the unwavering eye and it’s enough to unnerve him into not identifying Dix.

 

What we learn in this opening Daily Dose clip is Dix is a big, imposing figure.  He’s cool, but determined and you get the sense he’s been through skirmishes with the police and knows how to work the process to his advantage.  He does come across as hard-boiled although it’s not because of his dialogue (Dix doesn’t utter a word in this clip) but rather through his physical actions.

 

Heist films typically have a crew not unlike a film crew.  Each person brings a skill set to the process and together they get the job done.  By watching Dix in this clip, it’s possible he could prove valuable if any heist were to occur.

 

While made in 1950, The Asphalt Jungle feels fresh.  It’s doesn’t feel mannered or comparable to the discussion about being “burlesqued” in The Narrow Margin.  The cast is superb and the production values first rate – more like an A than B picture.  Along with Rififi, certainly one of the best heist movies and up there with the very best examples of film noir.

 

-Mark

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Off the bat, a dark and moody atmosphere is established in this opening scene of The Asphalt Jungle, which is partly established by the slow pace set by the lurking police car. Having not yet seen this film (I just set my DVR for it), I get the feeling of nefarious activity in this city, perhaps partly by its own police force. The city is downtrodden and gritty--not the sort of location to which I'd be booking a vacation. The streets and buildings are rough, hard, and dirty--likely in the same vein as the city's people. In this unnamed city, the law of the jungle is kill or be killed, and this, I assume, is where the film's title comes from. Corruption is apparent and lives are at stake. The criminals--and perhaps the police--will go to great lengths to protect themselves. We can assume that Dix is holding the witness's life over his head. His "powers of persuasion" will likely factor into his heist later on...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The more I think about it, the more I love how blatantly crooked the whole line-up scene is. Especially when you compare it to lineup scenes these days where all of the suspects share the same characteristics (build, hair color, eye color, height, etc).

 

"So here's this guy who killed his wife in his own house. And this guy is a clerk who does drugs and tried to hang himself. And this guy is a vagrant who has committed a billion robberies. Now, who would you say is the man who robbed you? You said it was a tall guy in a brown suit. I'm just wondering if anyone--say that tall convicted robber in the brown suit--might be the guy you saw."

 

I was trying to figure out earlier what it made me think of, and the way that the huge crowd of police officers is watching the men in the lighted frame up on the stage with the booming voice over the speaker puts me in mind of Welles' The Trial. Not necessarily a specific shot from that movie, but more like the overall vibe and surreal sensibility.

 

And the fact that this man emerges from this crooked machine without having to say a word is pretty amazing. I feel sympathy for the clerk being intimidated, but also a strange admiration for this guy beating such a corrupt system. (He might be guilty, but you just know that a ton of innocent men have been railroaded by police using these same tactics).

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't go without commenting on The Asphalt Jungle; in my opinion, a brilliantly crafted film.  Knowing where Dix is, and hearing him talk about the land he came from, I wonder...  Was his a make believe past?  Could it really have been as nice as he said?  Then at the end of the movie, it turns out to be true.  The horse farm is beautiful.  Notice at the end how the music changes.  It's beautiful too.  He made it home.  But also note the storm clouds over the horse ranch.  And at the parting shot he lies dead in the field with the horses around him, and the storm clouds have moved away.  The contrast between the city and the horse ranch, is striking.  One is cold-hearted and hard-edged; the other, warm and inviting.  Terrific film.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I learned recently from a reply on this board that what we see on any given "frame" is there for a purpose. You have peeled back a layer to reveal what some may have missed or not thought about. Your observation, research and conclusion are well thought out.

Thank you for the kind comment.. It is much appreciated!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, there are no plants, flowers or pretty things to indicate this is a pleasant place to live. Even some parts of my hometown Detroit are still like this today. As in deserted streets, not a sign of humanity, except maybe in the shadows.

 

The cops surely know all about Dix when they haul him in at Gus's diner. Clearly Gus knows what to do when Dix arrives. The loud music is quite distracting to the cops so they quickly haul Dix away because they can't stand the loud music.

 

I've never had to be at a police lineup, fortunately. This must have been in an earlier time where the suspects could see the audience. I know nowadays the suspects cannot see the audience so the "if looks could kill" stare down Dix gives to the milquetoast could not happen today.

 

Dix's occupation is listed as "none", but judging by his lengthy criminal record, we know what his true occupation is.

 

The grittiness of the city and the dress of the main characters are a sign that we truly are in a noir city.

This is a 1950 film, long before Gideon v Wainwright (1963 right to lawyer) or Miranda v Arizona (1966).  Police could do a lot and get away with it back then like the lopsided lineup.  These cases began the process of limiting police power, or as some saw it, abuse of power.  Foster v California dealt with the issue of lineups and how police must conduct them.  It was a much different world back then.  They picked Dix up for "****" I believe, which would be vagrancy, what were the rules in that city at that time?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Discuss how this film depicts and utilizes this "unnamed city." Additionally, why do you think the film is entitled The Asphalt Jungle?

 

The opening scene shows the rundown or older, commercial section of an urban area. It is filled with exposed telephone wires and poles, cracked pavement, an elevated train, and lots of side streets and alleys in which to hide. A police car is seen, which radio is broadcasting a bolo for a tall man, in a dark suit, with a soft hat. The tall man in the dark suit is hiding behind anything he can in order to avoid being spotted by the cops.

 

The city is used by the criminals within it as both a fertile field for their criminality and a place in which to hide once their crimes have been committed. In the line-up the audience sees for itself the array of hoodlums, degenerates and low lives who use and abuse those living within the city in order to advance their particular acts of violence, theft, and degeneracy. 

 

The metaphor of the jungle is obvious. Like the jungle, the city is a lawless place filled with savagery in which a pecking order from strong to weak exists as the societal structure in the absence of civilizing forces. We are watching a dog eat dog situation.

 

Describe the film noir characteristics, in both style and substance, of these opening scenes. 

 

I think that the film is in the kitchen sink style of production, showing life in the inner city as gritty, depressing, dark, shadowy, and filled with grinding poverty and ignorance. The influence of neo-realism is demonstrated by the black and white photography, the maze of wires, train tracks, and side streets.

 

Once the scene shifts to Gus' cafe, we find Gus, a hunchback whose vest is split up the back to accommodate his physical irregularity, smoking a cigarette, playing the radio, accepting Dix' gun and putting it in the cash register drawer without comment. Gus is accustomed to hiding weapons for his patrons. He may own a legitimate business in the form of his eatery, but he obviously participates in the illegitimate or jungle business as well. Gus contributes to the savagery in this city. When Gus turns the radio up and talks to the cops as if he doesn't really notice them too much and tells them to get a warrant in an offhand manner, his delivery of his dialogue is natural, realistic and believable.

 

Although the police station line-up looks crude and unconstitutional according to modern standards, it probably was a realistic depiction of a police lineup in 1950.

 

As for the substance of noir, a crime has been committed. Crime is the subject of noir and has been from the beginning. 

 

Why are these opening scenes an interesting choice for a "heist film?" What are we learning about one of its major characters (Dix) that might be important for later in the film (and I'm not asking for any spoilers, just character insight)?

 

Dix is a habitual criminal. His history of criminal activity is announced at the line-up, he has just committed another crime, and since it is at the beginning of the film, he is probably going to commit further crimes during the next couple of hours.

 

If I was the eyewitness against Dix, and he was staring at me with his menacing and piercing gaze filled with the possibility of retribution, I would deny that he was the criminal I just saw doing a crime.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening moments of The Asphalt Jungle set up the conflict of a single man versus the police.  The location appears to be in the seedy side of town, since the buildings are rather shabby and non-descript.  The streets are deserted except for a single man and a police car.  The music and police radio suggest that the policemen in the car are looking for someone.  Finally, we see a lone figure walking the streets.  As we watch this him travel the streets, the buildings around him dwarf him.  He seems to be nothing more than a tiny speck.  All this makes him seem rather insignificant and powerless.  Even though he is in city, he feels very isolated from his surroundings.  He hides behind one of the tall pillars of a building as the police go by, so the viewer knows that he has been up to no good. 

 

He remains small until he enters the bar.  Clearly, he has been in this situation before, since the bartender immediately hides his gun and covers for him when the police enter a few moments later.  Still, he gets hauled in, for seemingly no reason and put in a stacked line-up.

 

The three criminals enter and they look nothing alike.  A voice announces for what each man was arrested, making it clear that there is no way these other two men were involved in the robbery.  Dix stands out in this line-up.  No longer standing amongst tall buildings, it is clear that he is a very tall man; he towers over the other men in the line-up.  To emphasize his outsider status, he doesn’t even stand in front of the measuring lines on the wall. Instead, he is just off to the side of the lines, glowering at the people viewing the line-up.  When we see the victim of the crime, it is clear that he is caught between two people trying to influence him.  The policeman seems to be trying to bully him into identifying Dix, while Dix is giving him a look that is clearly an attempt to intimidate him.  Ultimately, Dix wins as the man looks down and claims to not see the man who robbed him.  Without hearing Dix say a word, we have started to get a pretty good idea of the kind of man he is and what his life has been like. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

This film as mentioned almost makes the city into a character, covering for men, watching the police seemingly as they drive around. It gives the feel of what it would be like for civilized men (the police) to wander in a jungle. Predators waiting and many eyes watching to take advantage of any situation they can.

 

The despondent nature of the city. Either giving the feeling of being watchful and wary or broken and crying out for helps echoes of a noir sentiment raging rampant. The diner owner Gus who's willing to hide a gun at the drop of a hat shows what a crooked place this is. Whether it be the police or the criminals someone is crooked. The tension and the fear in characters is palpable and makes for a great story. Prepares us for the despair and hopelessness sure to come. 

 

These opening scenes show us that this city is broken and that for sure there are men getting rich of the backs of others. We see Dix has a history and also possibly a need for that big heist to get him out of the criminal world. We also see how with no words he can force a man to lie to the police about who robbed him. It shows the mental power dix has to be able to hold sway over people. This may come in handy when you've got a lot of lying to do to pull off a heist.

 

Mark

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The "unnamed city" in this film noir, The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is a 'character' which encourages crimes to be committed.  Its stark and bleak setting with deserted ruins invites doom and desolation.  The film is aptly named to imply uncivilized, unlawfulness and a violent struggle for survival such as in a jungle but made of brick and mortar instead of trees and plants.

 

Documentary realism is evident in the beginning of the scene as the patrol car drives through the empty district while a lone man is sighted walking among the ruins or buildings in the early morning hours.  Music is an element adding suspense and danger until the unknown man gets to the Cafe.  The scene becomes formalistic and surrealistic once inside the Cafe with the man behind the counter, Gus (James Whitmore), instantly taking the gun given to him by the entering customer, Dix (Sterling Hayden) and hides it in the cashier machine.  Then, Gus turns up the music as two policemen enter to arrest Dix and threaten to search the Cafe for a gun.  The Cafe has the feel of loneliness and isolation as shown in Edward Hopper's painting the Nighthawks.  Also, the Cafe camera shots are unconventional and at angles with skewed compositions and diagonal lines especially with Gus in the foreground, who seemingly dominates or controls the scene with the policemen.

 

The opening scenes are an interesting choice for a "heist film" for they introduce a heist which probably was committed by Dix, the man who entered the Cafe and gave his gun to the owner, Gus.  Dix doesn't say much in the line-up at the police station, but, his wordless stare at the witness (Frank Cady) so unnerves the witness that he emphatically denies that Dix is the culprit.  It probably didn't help that the police description about Dix was read out loud to the witness saying that he was originally arrested for illegal procession of a firearm and then in and out of jail several times for the last several years which indicates that he is a hardened criminal.  Dix appears to be fearless with nerves of steel as well as menacing and threatening in a subtle way. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had forgotten how barren these opening images of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE proved to be. Everything is shrouded in a hazy cloud of fantasy, as if they smeared Vaseline on the camera prior to shooting. This soft focus is out of place in 1950's noir, but the story as a whole practically reeks of a different time. There's almost an Orwellian tone to the abandoned landmarks and ruling policeman that punk Sterling Hayden around, a style that's further advanced by the dilapidated post war look of this American town.

 

Also getting some heavy existentialism in those opening shots of Hayden, as if he were the Omega Man of noir - wandering the ruins of former corruption and greed. The story obviously doesn't go down this road, but it's an eerie visuals suggestion to throw at the viewer. I would imagine this is how a pulp story by Rod Serling would've started out. Great movie, great opener, and great start to the last week of summer of darkness!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no mistaking John Huston’s hand in this film. In addition to being a great director, he was a fine artist.

Aesthetically, one can break down a painting into component parts, line, shape, space, form, value, texture, color, and movement. Huston has complete control of these elements.

Look at the shot where Dix hides behind the column. Every frame is a perfectly balanced photo. The vertical columns are contrasted with the railroad tracks that emphasize the perspective. The lack of color emphasizes the amazing light and dark contrast.

Then he does something amazing. Dix walks right to left across the screen, and then with the precision of a Buckingham palace guard, he snaps around and walks down the sidewalk emphasizing the perspective line. He snaps behind the column and ultimately looms large as he heads toward the camera. Meanwhile the police car slowly drifts from left to right to balance out the scene. At no point in this shot is the mise-en-scène out of balance.

Huston could have broken up this scene with a moving camera or close ups, but he clearly wanted to paint a larger picture. The main character here is not Dix or the cops, but rather “The Asphalt Jungle.”

Compare this to the next shot with the police car turning. This shot must have taken a long time to perfect. The power lines and poles once again create very distinct perspective lines across the screen, but now the car is clearly the focus. As the car turns it’s side to the camera, the camera tracks along with it to give us a good long look at the “Police” decal. Then it swings back and widens out to tell the story of the car circling back. Once again, every single frame looks like a work of art.

I suppose modern action films are somewhat “painterly” because they are all constructed on a computer, but they can’t touch the beautiful simplicity of a Huston film.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the coffee shop scene. In an interview with James Whitmore (on TCM), he complained that John Huston told him to "turn up the radio just before the cops enter."

 

Whitmore, who plays Gus, the owner, was afraid his lines would be drowned out by the music from the radio. I think it was a great touch. Sterling Hayden slips onto a counter stool and silently hands over his gun. Gus slips it into the cash register smoothly, silently, no questions asked.

 

Obviously, he's done this before.

 

Then, when the two big cops storm in, Gus stands up to them, insisting they "Get a warrant."

 

Great scene. Classic film noir.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

The "unnamed city" were the action of this John Huston's film takes place has no name not because it doesn't exist but because it can be any industrialized American town from the post-war period. It isn't depicted as an imaginary dystopian scenario, through expressionist and formalist techniques (more present in other scenes of the film), but rather as a potentially real place, through a documentary-style realistic approach, at the same time evoking the visual motifs of the devastation of European cities during the WWII depicted by italian neo-realistim (that, we know, has largely influenced films noir from the 50's). 

We know that war didn't took place in America as in Europe, but that it affected American citizens' mentality, injecting people with feelings of constant fear, nihilism and existencialism. In consequence, the desolation and the destruction that are shown to us in the opening of The Asphalt Jungle stand for moral devastation and loss of hope in civilization, rather than for material destruction and misery itself. The "unnamed city" is not "designed for living", it's a no-man's land, as it is depicted as a ruined, deserted, disordered town, that invites doom, crime and corruption. I agree with both arguments presented in some of the comments above: that e city has the energy of an actual character that is complice of the heist that has been commited (a corruptive energy, that covers crime and makes impossible for law, order and justice to prevail), and that the jungle to which the title refers is no more than the city itself, a jungle made of brick and cement instead of trees and plants, and inhabited by criminals instead of wild animals.
Speaking of animals, these first scenes also put in place an ambiguous contrast between policemen and criminals, predators and preys, as it is difficult to understand (and, in the last scene of the clip, even to recognize) the motives of the ones who search and of the ones who are searched: we have doubts about the hability of law forces to prevent crime and we can't distinguish among the mass of the citizens the rotten individuals. These ideas are dramatized in the scene of the police line-up, but what I think it's the most interesting in that scene is the way it presents the characters, specially one of the major characters of the film (Dix): it's somewhat irrealistic that the three suspects for the same crime can be so physically different, and that the identity of the only one who matches the description is denied by the same witness who gave this description; at the same time, we listen that Dix's occupation is listed as "none", but judging by his lengthy criminal record, we're almost sure he's the one who commited the crime. Yet, this is a noir film, so we can't trust any evidence before going deeper in the labyrintic and obscure streets of the Asphalt Jungle.
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The first order of business--get and keep the attention of the viewer while providing information that carries the story forward. This is happening all through this brief clip. The background voice of the female police dispatcher on the radio, although not loud enough to be heard distinctly, unless the viewer focuses attention specifically on it, adds realism to the scene. The mood of the film is set by views of vacant buildings and the bleakness of the on-location shooting in a wharehouse district on the edge of marginal residential houses. The skillful movement of Hayden behind the tall concrete support beam makes this man a suspect--- not just a well dressed man walking down a street. A lot is conveyed by this simple act. This man knows the ways of the street and of the cops. The same savy is shown when he immediately hands the gun, which is then hidden in a clever place, the cash register, with no words at all spoken. He still does not speak when arrested and booked on "****"  ( vagrancy).  We learn that Hayden has a record when he is in the line up. He was sentenced for what I remember was a rather minor offense but escaped jail and was recaptured, which I deduced was what started him down the road of crime. The ever present hat plays a role when the victom cannot, or at least does not,  identify him as the hold up man. Hayden's knowing smile says it all.   

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...