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Monday, June 27, 2016

Criss Cross (1949)

A man (Burt Lancaster) returns to Los Angeles after having been away for 8 months after the break up of his marriage. But his ex-wife (Yvonne De Carlo) is still under his skin and they renew their relationship even though she's married to another man (Dan Duryea). But it's the kind of love that will destroy them all. Directed by Robert Siodmak (THE KILLERS), this film is the very definition of film noir! It's all here: the doomed hero (Lancaster), the femme fatale (De Carlo), the tough police detective (Stephen McNally), the charismatic villain (Duryea), the atmospheric B&W lensing and lighting (Franz Planer), a Miklos Rozsa score and a fatalistic ending! All packed in a taut 90 minute package. While many noir films are often a case of style over substance, Siodmak and his writer Daniel Fuchs (adapting Don Tracy's novel) shore up the narrative with an almost poignant portrait of a man so obsessed with a woman that he can't see anything else and follows her to his own doom, the film's dark ending is among the best in the genre. Remade by Steven Soderbergh in 1995 as THE UNDERNEATH. With Richard Long, Percy Helton, Alan Napier and in his film debut, Tony Curtis. 

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