John Huston and Ben Maddow co-wrote the screenplay of this convoluted heist film. As such, the movie is a treasure trove of quotable moments, splendid film noir photography, and plot twists in which various heist participants double-cross each other.
Set in an unnamed Midwestern city, Asphalt Jungle is a truly ensemble story of greed, double-dealing with one’s supposed partners, and the lack of honor among thieves.
The movie has a stellar cast, including Sterling Hayden as Dix (the hard guy), James Whitmore (the wheelman and diner owner who likes cats), and Anthony Caruso (the safe cracker and future guest star on Star Trek (the original show) as Bella Oxmyx).
It also includes a small, but essential part for the up-and-coming Marilyn Monroe, as the mistress of a no-good, but wealthy, man.
As is fitting with noir movies based on a heist, things naturally don’t go as planned. And through a series of convoluted events, all the dirtbags get what’s coming to them. This includes not only the criminals, but the corrupt cop who’s also involved up to his neck.
Thus, this film represents the epitome of film noir. A world in which those who break the law can’t expect justice, when those who enforce laws are as flawed as they. A world in which even the most righteous of enforcers are so tainted by the world’s corruption, they fail to see the humanity within even the most desperate criminal.
This film is a work of genius and gets a definite two thumbs up!