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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cry Of The City (1948)

With the assistance of a trustee (Walter Baldwin), a cop killer (Richard Conte) escapes from jail. His intention is to protect his girlfriend (Debra Paget) from both the thugs who have threatened her if he doesn't confess to a murder he didn't commit and also from the police who are looking for her. This dark and gritty thriller, tightly directed by Robert Siodmak (THE KILLERS), is a perfect example of New York noir although only partially filmed on location. What prevents it from achieving a level of power that the greatest noirs have is the lack of a protagonist the audience can sympathize with in even the most remote way. While most noir "heroes" find themselves placed in situations due to circumstances beyond their control or a weakness in their character, Conte's character is a 100% scumbag. Victor Mature, very good here, as the cop on Conte's trail isn't given enough of a backstory to pick up the slack. Alfred Newman effectively recycles his Street Scene score. With Shelley Winters, Hope Emerson (who has one terrific moment), Fred Clark, Betty Garde, Tommy Cook and Kathleen Howard.

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