Sunday, 16 March 2008

Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949)

Steve Thompson: She's all right, she's just young.
Mrs. Thompson: (about Anna) Huh! Some ways, she knows more than Einstein.

Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) comes back to LA. He had left some months ago after divorcing Anna (Yvonne de Carlo). She is now involved with the gambler and gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea).

Steve, who has got back to his job as an armoured-car payroll guard, is still in love with Anna and realises that he can get her away from Slim if he manages to make a lot of money from a bank robbery. So taking advantage of his job he plans a hold-up together with Slim only to betray him later.

In “The Killers” - also directed by Robert Siodmak - Burt Lancaster is hopelessly waiting for some gangsters who will come and kill him. The scene is somehow repeated in Criss Cross. In the robbery, Steve (Burt Lancaster) tries to double-cross Slim to get away with Anna afterwards. However his obsession with this femme fatale will lead to his own destruction.

He is wounded in the heist and Slim gets to know about his plans and sooner or later he will get the couple.

The robbery sequences, the scenes at the hospital and the final ones (shot with a powerful use of dark and light) are film noir at its best – with a sense of tragedy in the final embrace of the two lovers.

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