I Wake Up Streaming – October 2019

Joseph H. Lewis never again matched the dizzying heights of the delirious masterpiece Gun Crazy, but he did create at least one additional classic in the noir canon. The Big Combo (1955) stars Cornel Wilde (also an uncredited producer) as a driven cop hounding preening mobster Richard Conte, an arrogant kingpin who has made sleek blonde debutante Jean Wallace his emotional slave. Lewis turns it all into a crime drama of obsession, megalomania, sexual submission, and sadism set in an abstract vision of big-city America. Collaborating with cinematographer extraordinaire John Alton, they transform small-budget sets into an austere, eerily empty world, a deserted landscape of cops, criminals, and denizens of the night, all delivered in a claustrophobic style drenched with death and doom. It’s new on Kanopy from Kino Lorber; this new edition is superior to any of the versions streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Continue reading at The Film Noir Foundation


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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