Gotta hand it to John Huston; he sure does know how to make a film noir. Much like the Maltese Falcon before it, the Asphalt Jungle introduces us to a collection of low-lives and misfits, then pits them against each other. Later films like Reservoir Dogs and Heist owe a lot to this film. It puts forth the idea that there is no such thing as a perfect crime. Accidents will occur, allegiances will change, and ulterior motives will come to light. The caper in the Asphalt Jungle is surprisingly simple, given the genre. The complications come when the criminals involved start looking out for themselves instead of the team. All the characters here are memorable, but the standouts, for me, are Louis Calhern as a corrupt lawyer and Sam Jaffe as the mild-mannered German with the master plan. This is one of the best in the film noir genre, but, sadly, it has been largely forgotten over time.
THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950)