Police Lt. Diamond is told to close his surveillance of suspected mob boss Mr. Brown because it’s costing the department too much money with no results. Diamond makes one last attempt to uncover evidence against Brown by going to Brown’s girlfriend, Susan Lowell. –IMDb
American low-budget filmmaker Joseph H. Lewis began his long screen career editing such Republic serials as The Miracle Rider (1935) and The Undersea Kingdom (1936). Lewis was elevated to director with Courage of the West, a 1937 Universal oater that also marked the debut of crooner Bob Baker. As a director, Lewis would remain in the Western field well into the television era, earning the nickname of “Wagon Wheel Joe” because of a penchant for framing shots through the spokes of a wagon wheel. The moniker was bestowed upon him by fellow B-Western expert Oliver Drake, but unlike Drake, Lewis’ oeuvre managed to stand out in a crowded field, mainly due to careful lighting and other atmospheric touches not often considered sine qua non in low-budget filmmaking. Turning increasingly to thrillers, Lewis later directed Bela Lugosi in one of the veteran screen ghoul’s better later vehicles, Monogram’s The Invisible Ghost (1941), and even more importantly… read more
A demonstration in how talented craftsmen can take what is, on the surface, a B-picture and elevate it to the level of high art. "The Big Combo" is by all accounts your standard Hollywood noir but the inventiveness of director Joseph H. Lewis and the painterly brilliance of cinematographer John Alton make it an exceedingly memorable addition to the canon. This is a picture that tasks risks: the film's sexuality is more in your face than you'd ever think the Hays Code would permit and there are moments of violence as startling as a whip crack. Here's a story where the villain is allowed to be more charismatic than the 'hero,' a story where our hero seems willing to sacrifice just about anyone in his single-minded pursuit of - justice? A woman? It's all clouded by fog.
Brings back memories -- back at home I organized a film noir club for my friends. This time the protagonist is neither a heavy drinker or agressive, the bad guy is also just an overly self-conscious rich person with a dark secret. It's noir because of a much more normal affliction: love. Its greatest point is the depiction of the psychological warfare between Diamond and Brown, how the cop breaks down the hoodlum.
Saw this two times at the Cinematheque. Has got not one wrinkle. So efective, fast-paced, cool, superbly shot, directed and acted. Mr Brown was awesome. Did Tarantino watch this?