Downloads Movie The Big Combo Watch Online

The Big Combo Movie Poster

Year: 1955
Director: Joseph H. Lewis

The Big Combo Download

Cast:

Cornel Wilde (Police Lt. Leonard Diamond), Richard Conte (Mr. Brown), Brian Donlevy (Joe McClure), Jean Wallace (Susan Lowell), Robert Middleton (Police Capt. Peterson), Lee Van Cleef (Fante), Earl Holliman (Mingo), Helen Walker (Alicia Brown), Jay Adler (Detective Sam Hill), John Hoyt (Nils Dreyer), Ted de Corsia (Ralph Bettini), Helene Stanton (Rita), Roy Gordon (Audubon), Whit Bissell (Doctor (scenes deleted) (as Whit Bissel)), Steve Mitchell (Bennie Smith), Boxer, Baynes Barron (Young detective), James McCallion (Frank - Lab technician), Tony Michaels (Photo technician), Brian O'Hara (Attorney Malloy), Rita Gould (Nurse)

Storyline:

Police Lt. Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) is criticized by his superior Capt. Peterson (Robert Middleton) for his obsessive but fruitless investigation of organized crime boss Mr. Brown (Richard Conte). Peterson calls it a waste of the taxpayers' money motivated by Diamond's love for Brown's girlfriend Susan Lowell (Jean Wallace). Watched at all times by henchmen Mingo (Earl Holliman) and Fante (Lee Van Cleef), and masochistically drawn to Brown, Susan is unable to walk away from him. She overdoses on pills in a suicide attempt and, in her delirium, utters the name "Alicia." Diamond follows up on that new lead, and as he gets closer to defeating his adversary, the arrogant and sadistic Brown retaliates by capturing and torturing Diamond. Meanwhile Brown's former boss but now humiliated underling, Joe McClure (Brian Donlevy), believing that Brown has gone too far in his personal vendetta against Diamond, tries to enlist Mingo and Fante in overthrowing him. However, they remain loyal, and, in a chillingly silent scene visually punctuated by flashes of gunfire, they shoot the deaf McClure after Brown removes his hearing aid. Though superficially a story of good vs. evil, Joseph H. Lewis's film noir presents a complex world, visually captured by John Alton's stark photography, in which the lines between good/evil and love/hate are not always clear. ~ Steve Press, Rovi

Reviews:

The Big Combo may be the only film noir ever plugged on the I Love Lucy show (Cornel Wilde guest-starred in the episode which aired April 18, 1955). Coming late in the noir cycle and directed by Joseph Lewis, it seized a position as one of its most innovative and stylish titles. And, with the wizardly John Alton behind the camera, it kicks film noir's distinctive look up into another, rarefied dimension (Alton must have been emulating the Dutch Masters – spare traceries of light limn almost abstract patterns on the screen's primordial blackness).

The story, too, stays a primal one of obsession, lust and revenge. Ninety-six-fifty-a-week cop Wilde lives in a cheap flat across from a burlesque house, one of whose headliners (Helene Stanton) he occasionally `sees.' But his only passion is for nailing suave but savage crime boss Richard Conte. Iin a performance brimming with cool menace, Conte is fond of saying `First is first and second is nobody.' Wilde also harbors half-admitted fantasies of riding to the rescue of Conte's remote and unwilling mistress (Jean Wallace, Wilde's off-screen wife). Conte's so possessive that he assigns an intimate twosome of torpedoes (Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman) as her full-time bodyguards (since they're gay, he trusts them to serve as eunuchs). But when they fail to prevent her overdosing on pills, she falls into Wilde's hands at hospital and starts to babble about a woman called Alicia.

Another wild card is Conte's lieutenant Brian Donleavy, over the hill and hard of hearing, who chafes at playing second fiddle; he saw himself as heir to the organization when unseen capo Grazzi `retired' to Sicily. His grudge against his boss makes him reckless, placing the whole `combination,' or combo, in jeopardy. Wilde, meantime, has tracked down elusive Alicia, Conte's supposedly murdered wife (Helen Walker, the duplicitous psychiatrist in Nightmare Alley, in her last screen appearance); only she knows where the bodies are buried and can write her husband's death warrant....

The Big Combo counts as one of the more sadistic instalments in the cycle, but the mayhem and executions are played as big set-pieces, as flourishes; Lewis draws on Alton's full fetch of tricks (and in one memorable instance, on the sound editor's) to highlight but at the same time soften their nastiness. There's a streak of sadism in the casting, too: Both Wallace's attempted suicide and Walker's dissipation bring to mind the actresses' private troubles. Innovative and striking, The Big Combo comes as close as any film in the noir cycle to being an art-house triumph; it consolidates Lewis' reputation as an erratic director who was nonetheless capable – here, and with his Gun Crazy – of pulling off something unexpected yet extraordinary.



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Now that DVD is fast becoming the medium of choice for many film enthusiasts, some lesser known, lower budget titles are finding their way to wider audiences.

Joseph Lewis's "The Big Combo" has made this trip to digital, and thankfully none of the film's captivating sleaze has been stripped away in the transfer.

What appears to be a fairly stock story of straight-arrow police detective Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) obsessed with capturing a foreboding gangland chieftain, Mr. Brown, "Combo" is an unusually hardboiled, over the top tale of revenge and murder that will please and perhaps even surprise noir and crime-drama fans.

Over the course of the protracted investigation, Diamond, who has nearly lost his badge because of his stubborn determination, has fallen for the boss's dame -- a society girl gone so wrong she figures suicide is the only way out. But Mr. Brown (Richard Conte, excellent as the 'last-name only' control freak) is as omnipotent and omniscient as a head pit boss in Vegas, taunting and manipulating every one around him with an unsettling equanimity.

He tells Diamond, who is virtually powerless to do anything but temporarily hold the murderous Brown and his men on trivial charges, that "the busboys in his hotel" make more money than he does. Even Brown's right hand man, the hearing impaired McClure (Brian Donlevy)is mercilessly ridiculed for his second tier status.

And Brown is obsessed with his prowess with women as Diamond is with capturing him and wooing his moll. The film is filled with risque sexual allusions as wild as anything from director Sam Fuller.

In one scene, Brown manuevers around his girl, stopping briefly at her lips, but then dropping out of frame, seemingly down past her waist. And Diamond cavorts with a "burlesque" dancer (with a heart of gold, natch) who appears in a skimpy outfit that is titillating even by today's television standards.

But the most ribald bits to make it past the censors involve Brown's bickering henchmen, Fante and Mingo. Fante, played by the aquiline Lee Van Cleef, appears to be a typical hood, but midway through the film the lights come up in a bedroom where the two men have been sleeping in remarkably close quarters.

Later, sequestered in a mob-hideout, the two engage in thinly-veiled homoerotic banter that will leave you howling.

As will some of the other scenes -- torture by drum solo, a Casablanca inspired finale. Throughout the picture Brown and Diamond dance around one another sans gene, to the sound of gunshots and acid-tongued banter.

"The Big Combo" is taut, gutter entertainment, delivered in precise black and white. Even if you do watch it on DVD.

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