My Review of ‘The Big Combo’ (1955)


In this film, a police lieutenant named Leonard Diamond (played by Cornel Wilde) has it in for a horrible gangster named Mr. Brown (played to the hilt by Richard Conte) and is also somewhat obsessed with Brown’s suicidal girlfriend, Susan (played by Wilde’s own wife, Jean Wallace).


And, in trying to bring Brown to justice (while hopefully saving his girl), Diamond must find out what happened to someone from Brown’s past named Alicia.

The search for the truth about Alicia is at the heart of the story—that and Diamond’s determination to nab Brown and his goons (also played fittingly by Earl Holliman and Lee Van Cleef), not to mention his interest in Susan.


The story itself is not particularly special, but contains all the requisite twists and turns. What really makes this movie notable is its down and dirty depiction of violent crime, its jazzy score, and its top-drawer noir cinematography.




The double cross!

The double cross!

One of the most satisfying aspects of the movie for me is that Susan is not a femme fatale. And while she may be a woman in jeopardy, in the end she’s not a passive one. It’s her action that leads to Brown’s ultimate fate.




Bada-boom! :)

Bada-boom! 🙂

The foggy airport scene at the end is somewhat reminiscent of Casablanca, perhaps intentionally (?). But whether Diamond and Susan start a beautiful friendship or not, the movie fades out on one of film noir’s most iconic images.


Check it out! 🙂

Isn’t the resemblance eerie? 🙂

This film kept me engrossed to the very end. So … I’ll give it two thumbs up!

Hand showing thumbs up. All on white background.

This entry was posted in B-Movies, Film Noir, Movie Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to My Review of ‘The Big Combo’ (1955)

  1. It’s one of my favorite noirs. Conte is superbly evil, and I love the burlesque gal with a heart of gold. Great cinematography. And then there are the gay hitmen, Fante and Mingo. I dint know Wallace was Wilde’s wife. She’s wonderfully strung out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbi says:

      I know! This film really stuck with me after I saw it.

      Conte really is evil incarnate. The cinematography and score are awesome! 🙂

      As for the gay hitmen, well … I’ve always had a soft spot for Lee Van Cleef! What can I say? At some point, I hope to review my favorite spaghetti Westerns. That’s where I discovered Lee. There and in “High Noon”, of course! 🙂


  2. This film gets a lot of favourable press, and judging by the images you’ve posted I can see why. Time to finally watch this one!

    Speaking of watching, I hope to be back this weekend to catch up on The Spiritualist.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbi says:

    Writing is re-writing. 🙂 Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll do fine! 🙂


Comments are closed.