Unfairly neglected film noir from 1959. It has two somewhat distinctive features. It is a classic heist goes wrong (Isn't that always the way?) story, but the participants are not professional criminals. And it has a black actor (Harry Belafonte) in the lead. Belafonte is a suave, sharp musician with an ex-wife and kid who has debts he can't pay, while Robert Ryan is a caustic, down on his luck vet looking for a break. Ed Begley brings them together for a bank robbery in rural New York. Great performances, taut direction by Robert Wise ("West Side Story"), and a bang up ending. This was a big influence on the iconic French crime film director Jean Pierre-Melville. Co-starring Shelley Winters, Gloria Graham, and Wayne Rogers (MASH), in his first role. Cool, jazzy score.
Pierre melville influence
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