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500 Five-Star: The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

September 18, 2011

 

I have a problem when it comes to The Asphalt Jungle.  When I watched it a week or so ago, I very much enjoyed it.  It was dramatic, interesting, well-acted and generally just a fun watch.  However, when scanning the 500 Films magazine to remind myself which films I still needed to review, I skipped past this one.  It took two flicks through the list to remember that I had actually seen it.  That’s never a good sign.  Had I blogged about The Asphalt Jungle immediately, I believe I probably would have given it five stars.  One of the original heist movies, it focuses mainly on the criminals, exploring their motives and backgrounds, as well as touching on police corruption. This characterisation is what makes the film stand out against the hundreds of crime stories out there; the heist, while dramatic, is one of the least fascinating elements of The Asphalt Jungle.  It’s the characters, the master criminal just out of jail, the country thug with a sad past, the bigshot lawyer with an expensive mistress (none other than Marilyn Monroe), who, with the help of a tight script and excellent performances, bring this story to life.  But…even with all of this, it still proved to be surprisingly forgettable.  What a shame.

 

Verdict:

If I don’t remember a film only a week after watching it, I can’t possibly give it five stars.  It’s classiness is obvious throughout, and it’s very, very enjoyable but I have to go against Empire.

****

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