Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crime Wave (1954)

Cops & Robbers

- A simple but gripping story about a robbery gone haywire and the people who get caught up in the good vs. evil mess, Crime Wave (1954, AKA: The City Is Dark) is a stone-cold cool cops and robbers film noir from André De Toth. Set in a grim and menacing depiction of Los Angeles, Crime Wave is a dark, brutal, stylish, and ultimately unique film within the genre.

The entire cast is solid, Gene Nelson gives a very good performance as ex con Steve Lacey and Charles Bronson (credited as Charles Buchinsky) gives a new meaning to the word "sleazebag" with his performance as baddie Ben Hastings - but Sterling Hayden grabs the most attention throughout the film. As L.A. Detective Sims, Hayden does just as much stealing as the bad guys he is trying to track down do - stealing every scene, that is. Bringing a high-speed delivery, certain likability, and an unyielding toughness (it looks like he could leave a guy in a roughed up clutter by just looking at him) to this edgy and no-nonsense cop ("once a crook always a crook"), Hayden bursts into every scene with a commanding mammoth presence. And to think the studio wanted Humphrey Bogart....

CBC Rating: 8/10

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