Byron Conrad Haskin (April 22, 1899 – April 16, 1984) was an American film and television director. He was born in Portland, Oregon.
He is remembered today for directing 1953’s The War of the Worlds, one of many films where he teamed with producer George Pal. In his early career, he was a special effects artist, with a number of credits on Warner Bros. films, eventually becoming the head of the studio’s special effects department. During his tenure there he earned three Oscar nominations for his effects work, and was even recognized with a Scientific and Technical Award citation for developing a rear-projection system useful in effects photography. In the late 1940s he turned to directing, helming Treasure Island, Walt Disney’s first live-action feature. In 1953 he began his collaboration with George Pal, followed by The Naked Jungle, Conquest of Space in 1955, and The Power in 1967. His other most noteworthy film is the science fiction adventure Robinson Crusoe on Mars, released… read more
All of the characters are distinctive, and it’s interesting to watch everyone involved looking out for their own best interest. Although a few will eventually make a turnaround, the majority of the film is each person doing their best to maintain what is theirs. And that use of background music playing throughout every scene adds a certain unnerving quality to it all. A real sleeper of a noir.
Retracting the previous verdict. True, there is nothing exceptional about the story arc, but the idea of crime becoming big business is well ahead of its time (at least in films). In that sense, the Burt Lancaster character is a Rip Van Winkle old-time gangster who suddenly wakes up to find himself cast as an indie new-kid-on-the-block facing off the major corporations.