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Other Versions of this Movie

The Big Combo

1955

No more uploads I was very satisfied with FTP uploading at archive.org. I was able to see exactly how much of the upload had been completed. I was able to see the rate at which the upload was progressing. And, perhaps most important of all, I was able to resume an interrupted upload. In other words, if I had uploaded 90% of a file when the connection was lost, all I had to do was reconnect and upload the remaining 10%. The programmers at archive.org have eliminated the best way of uploading, uploading via FTP. They have decided to force everyone to use an inferior, cruder method. The programmers at archive.org want you to be completely dependent upon and at the mercy of Adobe Corporation; in other words, they want you to use the Flash uploader. When using the Flash uploader, there is a progress indicator that gives only a very rough idea of how much of the file has been uploaded. There is nothing to indicate the rate at which the upload is progressing. There is no way to resume an interrupted upload. The Flash uploader is much more primitive than uploading by FTP. When attempting to use the non-flash uploader, this message appears: "Unfortunately we do not have upload progress feedback while files transfer during this (non-flash) method." And, of course, there is no way to resume an interrupted upload. Unbelievably crude. But the incompetent programmers at archive.org will probably tell you that the non-FTP methods of uploading are "way kewl" and have lots of nifty blinking lights. When the programmers at archive.org removed the best way of uploading, they didn't make it easier to upload. They made it harder. They probably resented that the best way made their ways seem so clunky by comparison. And they felt that they needed to make it appear that they were earning their paychecks by making some sort of an "improvement". It seems that they have no interest in making things easier for contributors to archive.org and that they are only interested in making things easier for themselves. I have uploaded over 200 videos (feature films and television shows) to archive.org. Since the programmers at archive.org have used their time to sabotage FTP uploading, I will be unable to upload any more videos. A high-quality p.d. noir. Don't bother downloading the h.264 file or the Ogg Video file; the Cinepack file from which they are derived is smaller.


The Big Combo is a 1955 American film noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis (director) and photographed by cinematographer John Alton, with music by David Raksin.<>.</>

Plot

Police Lt. Leonard Diamond is on a personal crusade to bring down sadistic gangster Mr. Brown. He's also dangerously obsessed with Brown's girlfriend, the suicidal Susan Lowell. His main objective as a detective is to uncover what happened to a woman called "Alicia" from the crime boss's past.
Mr. Brown, his second-in-command McClure and thugs Fante and Mingo kidnap and torture the lieutenant, then pour a bottle of alcohol-based hair tonic down his throat before letting him go. Diamond eventually learns through one of Brown's past accomplices that Alicia was actually Brown's wife. The accomplice suspects that Alicia was sent away to Sicily with former mob boss Grazzi, then murdered, tied to the boat's anchor and permanently submerged.
Diamond questions a Swede named Dreyer, who was the skipper of that boat (but now operates an antiques store as a front, bankrolled by Brown). Dreyer denies involvement, but this doesn't prevent him from being murdered by McClure within seconds after he leaves the shop.
Diamond tries to persuade Susan to leave Brown and admits he might be in love with her. He shows her a photo of Brown, Alicia and Grazzi together on the boat. Susan finally confronts Brown about his wife and is told she is still alive in Sicily, Italy, living with Grazzi.
Brown next orders a hit on Diamond. However, when his gunmen Fante and Mingo go to Diamond's apartment, they mistakenly shoot and kill the cop's burlesque dancer girlfriend Rita instead. Diamond sees an up-to-date photo of Alicia but realizes it wasn't taken in Sicily (since there's snow on the ground). This leads Diamond to suspect Brown didn't kill Alicia but his boss Grazzi instead. Diamond is able to track Alicia to a sanitarium, where she is staying under another name. He asks for her help.
Brown's right-hand man, McClure, wants to take over. He plots with Fante and Mingo to ambush Mr. Brown, but ends up getting killed himself because they are loyal to the boss.
At police headquarters, Brown shows up with a writ of habeas corpus, effectively preventing Alicia to testify against her husband. Brown also brings a big stash of "money" to Fante and Mingo while they are hiding out from the police, but the box turns out to contain a bomb that apparently kills both.
Brown shoots the lieutenant's partner Sam and kidnaps Susan, planning to fly away to safety. Diamond finds a witness that could finally nail the elusive gangster—Mingo, who survived the blast and confesses that Brown was behind it all. Alicia is able to help Diamond figure out where Brown was likely to take Susan, a private airport where Brown intends to board a getaway plane.
However, the plane doesn't show up and the film climaxes in a foggy airplane hangar shootout. Susan shines a bright light in Brown's eyes and the lieutenant places him under arrest. The last scene shows the silhouetted figures of Diamond and Susan in the fog, considered to be one of the iconic images of film noir.

Cast


  • Cornel Wilde as Police Lt. Leonard Diamond
  • Richard Conte as Mr. Brown
  • Brian Donlevy as Joe McClure
  • Jean Wallace as Susan Lowell
  • Robert Middleton as Police Capt. Peterson
  • Lee Van Cleef as Fante
  • Earl Holliman as Mingo
  • Helen Walker as Alicia Brown
  • Jay Adler as Sam Hill
  • John Hoyt as Nils Dreyer
  • Ted de Corsia as Bettini

Reception

=Critical response=

Image:BigComboTrailer.jpg
Reviews of the movie today are mostly positive. Chris Dashiell on the website CineScene finds the dialogue "run of the mill" but praises the film's director, writing that "Lewis had a remarkable ability to infuse poetry into the most banal material, and The Big Combo is one of his best efforts... it's not as startlingly inventive as Lewis's best film, Gun Crazy (1949), but it's a quality B-film, satisfying and dark."

In popular culture

The twin brothers Fante and Mingo from the movie
  • The Big Combo at Images Journal
  • The Big Combo] title sequence at

    Category:1955 films
    Category:1950s thriller films
    Category:American films
    Category:American crime thriller films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Film noir
    Category:Films about organized crime in the United States
    Category:Films directed by Joseph H. Lewis
    Category:Police detective films
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