A masterful film that dispels the stereotypes about 50's cinema. An inventive semi documentary take on both the criminal underworld and small town America's corruption. It's also one of the most unrelentingly brutal(and energetic) films of the period. The open ended conclusion is another feather in the film's cap. Between this and 99 River Street I'm interested in the rest of Karlson's work. Masterpiece.
Good, but far from being the undiscovered B-noir masterpiece that many proclaim it to be. I think Karlson made at least two other noirs (99 River Street and Kansas City Confidential) that are superior.
More crime drama than obscure film noir classic, this movie is actually is reasonably gruesome (okay, maybe just a few parts) by 1955 standards. The newsreel interviews at the beginning kind of took away from the movie but this wasn't without its moments. Not great, not bad.
Despite its reputation as a B-movie classic, an underwhelming noir docudrama. It has a number of great moments of visceral tension, but it's also bland and talky much of the time, getting off to an extremely slow start, so when the action actually does pick up, it's already lacking in narrative momentum. Crime film fans will find a lot to appreciate, but too flawed to live up to its reputation.
I kind of understand why this is revered by many, but for me the tension was barely there and none of the actors stood out. The interviews bugged me as well, because although they create a fairly interesting documentary feel to the whole film (apparently Phenix City was as bad as it's portrayed), they also manage to create destruction narrative-wise. Overall worth the watch, but far from a hidden gem.
Maybe the interview should have been at the end...it threatens to kill the movie. Things pick up considerably after that, with a couple of shocking bursts of violence and very convincing documentary style.