Sergio Leone Web Board

Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: drinkanddestroy on January 07, 2015, 05:55:25 PM



Title: Criss Cross (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 07, 2015, 05:55:25 PM
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041268/


Criss Cross (1949)


cast, courtesy of wikipedia:


    Burt Lancaster as Steve Thompson
    Yvonne De Carlo as Anna Dundee
    Dan Duryea as Slim Dundee
    Stephen McNally as Det. Lt. Pete Ramirez
    Esy Morales and His Rhumba Band
    Tom Pedi as Vincent
    Percy Helton as Frank
    Alan Napier as Finchley
    Griff Barnett as Pop
    Meg Randall as Helen
    Richard Long as Slade Thompson
    Joan Miller as The Lush
    Edna Holland as Mrs. Thompson
    John Doucette as Walt
    Marc Krah as Mort


Here the great dance scene from Criss Cross https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyvrlAQfg8k Yvonne de Carlo's dance partner is an uncredited Tony Curtis

Here is the trailer for Criss Cross https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZESMg9CrMc



Previous posts from the Film Noir Discussion Thread:

------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg144830#msg144830

cigar joe: Criss Cross (1949) Director: Robert Siodmak doomed Burt Lancaster is drawn into an armored car robbery by femme fatale ex wife Yvonne De Carlo,  with Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally, Esy Morales, Tom Pedi, Percy Helton. Good film with Bunker Hill section of LA used in bg. 7/10

------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg144835#msg144835

dave jenkins: (quotes CJ's previous post and says) :
You disappoint me, Joe. One of the bleakest endings in noir-dom, and still the film manages only a "7"? Eddie Muller puts it #2 on his Top 25, right behind In A Lonely Place. And he offers this in justification: "De Carlo in the parking lot pleading straight to the camera might be noir's defining moment."

----------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg144837#msg144837

cigar joe: (quotes DJ and replies) :Well I may disappoint again, I don't care for "In A Lonely Place" all that much either, I don't get its high ranking,  it's not sleazy enough for my tastes concerning Noir, more melodrama than I need. For example I would have liked to see a whole film based on Gloria Graham's B girl character in "Crossfire" rather than "In A Lonely Place".

I was sleepy watching "Cris Cross" and it's still here at the house (I've been out working in outside temps in the single digits & teens and pretty played out after work) so I may have dosed off, don't remember that parking lot scene I'll give it another go.  O0

----------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg144840#msg144840

cigar joe:

OK DJ reboot   8)
Criss Cross (1949) Director: Robert Siodmak doomed Burt Lancaster is drawn into an armored car robbery to cover for  femme fatale ex wife Yvonne De Carlo,  with Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally, Esy Morales, Tom Pedi, Percy Helton. Great film with Bunker Hill section of LA used in bg. Excellent performances all the way around must have been nodding out the first go round. Dan Duryea, who always seemed flaky to me in any Western I've ever seen him in is stellar in this, Yvonne also 10/10

--------------------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg145150#msg145150

titoli: (first, titoli quotes the following passage that CJ wrote elsewhere:  "another good Dan Duryea film (see "Criss Cross"). You know I've come to discover that my whole perception of him has come from the impressions I made from the Westerns I've seen him in. He was never believable to me as a Western villain he always seemed somehow off, not comfortable in Westerns, too goofy. In Noir he works."

Then titoli replies to CJ:

Too slick. He looks too much of a dandy for westerns. He needed the Leone treatment.

Criss-Cross (1949) I was sure I had seen it before, but I was probably making confusion with The Killers or Brute Force. It is shot masterfully, but some elements do not persuade me. Lancaster for one: he hadn't learned how to play at the time. He's even displayin full throttle his moronic grin in the first scenes: this was more of a Garfield part. Then the incessant repeating that the hold-up could only be an inside job while it is apparent that there are a million ways to do the crime without somebody in the inside. And the hospital left without a night ward? And how De Carlo got the money? Lancaster is said to have preserved one half of the loot from the bandits who, presumably, took the other half. 7\10

----------------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg176014#msg176014

drinkanddestroy:I enjoyed the whole movie, but then it all falls off the table at the end. I thought the ending was a letdown. I give it a 7.5/10.

I really liked that dance scene toward the beginning. It was filmed wonderfully, largely in closeup, just seeing de Carlo's head moving. Normally, you'd expect a dance scene like that to be filmed in medium shot (with some long shots of the whole dance floor, as well) so you can see her whole body moving, but here much of it is filmed just of her head, or say from the shoulders up, and you just see the upper part of her body moving, but you imagine how the rest of her body must be moving. I don't mean this in an overtly sexual sense, I mean yeah it's a sensual dance, but in filming this dance, it's really cool how you basically just see her head and maybe her shoulders, and imagine the rest of the body dancing, it works so wonderfully here. It's one of my favorite dance scenes in the movies.

DJ extols what he calls one of the bleakest endings in noir. WHAT IS SO BLEAK HERE? that the girl crossed up Lancaster, that she just wanted the money and didn't love him? big deal, that's what noir/femme fatale is all about. Dija really think Lancaster was gonna walk off into the sunset with her? So the girl crosses him up, they die in each other's arms, and Duryea is presumably about to be arrested. Is this more bleak than a dozen other noirs?
The title tells you, in case you couldn't figure it out, that the whole thing will be a big double cross. What bothered me was not what happened, it's not like I'm disappointed about the plot ending; just how it happened. From the moment the lieutenant leaves Lancaster's hospital room, I didn't enjoy the rest of the movie nearly as much as I'd been enjoying it up to that point.

--------------------------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg176021#msg176021

dave jenkins: Yeah, its ending is bleaker than most other noirs.

At the end of Double Indemnity, for example, Keyes expresses his love for Walter; Walter killed for money and the woman and got neither, but the ending is lightened by the fact that Keyes shows real affection for the man. That translates into a not-so-bleak finish.

At the end of Out of the Past Mitchum and Greer die, but there's the idea that Mitchum is sacrificing himself so that Ann can lead a happy life with her boyfriend. The deaf-mute kid seals the deal, figuring that's the way Bob would have wanted it. The noble-sacrifice ending is not in the least bleak.

At the end of The Killers there is the idea that justice has been served and the Swede avenged. And the O'Brien character solved the case.

At the end of D.O.A. O'Brien's character drops dead, but only after he's been able to have his revenge on the person who poisoned him. The fact that he avenged himself is very satisfying to most viewers.

And on and on. The code pretty much prevented utter nihilism from occurring. But the ending of Criss Cross almost gets there. There we find that Lancaster's efforts have all been in vain, AND, the entire program was wrong-headed from the word go. The Yvonne De Carlo character was never worth pursuing. Lancaster learns, at the point of dying, that his entire adult life has been one of misapprehension and failure. The fact that Duryea gets picked up by the cops is no consolation to either Lancaster--if he's even aware of it--or the audience. Duryea is going to jail, big deal. The guy we cared about, who we invested our feelings in, is dead, and all because of the worst kind of manipulative bitch that ever walked the earth. Maybe someday it'll happen to you, and on that day you'll realize just how bleak things can get.

Bleaksville, baby. It almost always takes a conniving bitch to get you there.


Title: Re: Criss Cross (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 07, 2015, 07:04:39 PM
Previous posts from the Film Noir Discusion Thread continued:

------------------------------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg176022#msg176022

drinkanddestroy:
Haha nice work, DJ  O0

I've been hurt by my share of women, but never the manipulative bitch. And btw, de Carlo leaves Lancaster cuz he is hurting and can't flee, she isn't interested in being noble and helping him if she isn't gonna be able to get away with the money. But if he had been able to get away cleanly and unharmed, you so sure she wouldn't have stayed with him?

Also, RE: Double Indemnity: is Keyes's love a consolation for Neff? He had a good life and fucked it up for money and a woman and got neither. If anything, the fact that Keyes expresses his love just accentuates what a good life Neff had before he met Phyllis: he had a good job, was successful at it, good friends, and screwed it all and got nuthin for it. I don't think Keyes reaffirming his friendship mitigates that; it may even make it worse, showing that he threw away a good life for nothing.

-----------------------------------

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg176028#msg176028

dave jenkins:

In response to the first paragraph of drinkanddestroys's post above, dave jenkins replies:

De Carlo's character is going to go with the BBD every time. If it looks like Lancaster can swing the BBD, she'll stick with him . . . until the next sucker comes along with an even bigger BBD. There's no way she was gonna go with Lancaster "forever."


In response to the second paragraph of drinkanddestroy's post above, dave jenkins replies:

That may be true. I'm thinking more in terms of how the audience feels at the end. The demonstration of friendship (Keyes finally lighting one up for Walter after all the times Walter has given Keyes a light) makes people feel a bit warm and fuzzy in the midst of all the failure and missed chances. At least, that's the way it's always seemed to me.



Title: Re: Criss Cross (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 07, 2015, 07:06:37 PM
Quote

De Carlo's character is going to go with the BBD every time. If it looks like Lancaster can swing the BBD, she'll stick with him . . . until the next sucker comes along with an even bigger BBD. There's no way she was gonna go with Lancaster "forever."[/color]

DJ, do you think de Carlo's character was planning this heist all along (like Phyllis Dietrichson was the one who really planned the murder all along)? I don't remember the sequence, did she show an interest in Lancaster as soon as he returned, or was it only after he got his job back at the armored car company?


Title: Re: Criss Cross (1949)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 08, 2015, 10:36:19 AM
DJ, do you think de Carlo's character was planning this heist all along (like Phyllis Dietrichson was the one who really planned the murder all along)? I don't remember the sequence, did she show an interest in Lancaster as soon as he returned, or was it only after he got his job back at the armored car company?
I don't remember this clearly, I'll have to take another look. My impression is that de Carlo is hard to read for most of the film, so we really don't know when she is acting proactively or reactively. Also, it seems she is playing Duryea and Lancaster off against each other; she's content to go with the winner, but since she doesn't know who that will be, she has to keep her hooks in both men up to the end. She only abandons Lancaster when it's clear he's a loser.

Btw, have you ever seen the remake Soderbergh made called The Underneath? It's pretty interesting.


Title: Re: Criss Cross (1949)
Post by: cigar joe on January 08, 2015, 01:27:21 PM
A nice review:
Criss Cross (1949) Robert Siodmak  
Mar9 by John Greco

(http://twentyfourframes.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/criss-cross-title.jpg?w=300&h=225)

The film opens with a magnificent opening aerial shot, the camera roaming over the Los Angeles night soon descending on our two doomed protagonists, Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) and his former wife, Anna (Yvonne DeCarlo) embracing passionately in a nightclub parking lot.  The sultry Anna promising Steve they will be together, the way it was meant to be. The eyebrows of knowing film noir lovers will be raised, because as you know, in this dark world, a woman’s promise of eternal love to a man is a death trap with no way out. Steve is the prototype film noir sap, head over heels stuck on a dame who is no good, pure evil, only he is too blind to see.  Blinded by love and sex, he is a pawn in a game he does not even know he is playing, while all the dame sees is dollars signs. Men are only there to be used by this kind of woman. Love? Love is a loser’s game. Her motto, as she tells the dumb sap late in the film,  “you have to look out for yourself.”

(http://twentyfourframes.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/criss-cross1.jpg?w=300&h=291)

The story is told in flashback with Steve looking back on the events leading up to the heist now set in motion. He just returned to Los Angeles after a long period away claiming he came back only for his family; his elderly mother, and his kid brother who is getting married, and not for his ex-wife, Anna. He gets his old job back as a security guard for an armored truck company. But fate, bad luck, call it what you will, intercedes and Steve finds himself one evening at his old hang out, a nightclub dive, and there she is dancing on the floor, spinning, twisting to the beat of the hot Latin music of band leader Esy Morales. In a series of close-ups and cross cuts we view Steve standing off to the side watching as Anna, on the dance floor, with her partner a young unknown Anthony “Tony” Curtis, (1) dances wildly to beat of the rhythmic music. We watch Steve slowly being sucked into old desires thought long gone.  When the dance is over, their eyes finally connect. They talk, she wants to get back together, Steve plays it tough, he wants nothing to do with her, it’s over… or so he says.

Old feelings die hard and they are soon together again. His mother warns Steve to stay away from her, Steve’s old friend, Inspector Pete Ramirez (Stephen McNally), warns him too, she’s no good, but the warning falls on deaf ears. After a chance meeting at L.A’s Union Station the two lovers are back together. Steve’s friendship with Ramirez falls apart when Steve discovers he told Anna to get out of town. The couple makes plans, then without warning, she takes off, marrying Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea) a small time creepy hood. Still, the two lovers can’t stay away from each other. Anna goes to see Steve at his place; they are caught together by Dundee and his men. To cover up their indiscretion, Steve utters they were discussing a potential robbery scheme of the armored truck where Steve works. They would do the heist together with Steve as the inside man. Dundee buys into the plan and the plan is set into motion. The night before the heist, Steve and Anna firm up their own plans to meet up and run off together after the robbery.

(http://twentyfourframes.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/criss-cros-still1.jpg?w=300&h=234)

Back in current time the well planned robbery is set in motion only Dundee and his men double cross Steve. They shoot him. Wounded, he retaliates; the robbery is botched with only a portion of the money stolen and Steve ending up a hero with a picture in the newspaper. Hospitalized, Steve is set up and duped by Dundee into leaving the hospital with a guy who works for him. He leads Dundee to the hiding place where Anna is waiting.

Ever the dope, Steve still doesn’t get it. For Anna, it was never about love, it was always about money.  While Steve looks on shell shocked, Anna packs her bag planning to get out before Dundee arrives, but she is too late. In walks Slim with a gun in his hand. The dame and the dope have reached the end of the line. So has Dundee as police sirens are heard in the background and we are left with the final image of the doomed lovers on the couch….dead.

Neither Burt Lancaster nor director Robert Siodmak wanted to make this film after the premature death of producer Mark Hellinger who also produced the earlier noir classic, “The Killers,” which both men worked on.   Lancaster biographer Kate Buford (2) points out, Lancaster was tired of playing doomed saps (The Killers, Sorry, Wrong Number); he wanted to move on to more heroic types roles like “The Flame and the Arrow,” “Jim Thorpe, All American” and “The Crimson Pirate.” In some ways it was too bad because Lancaster was perfect as a physically, tough, good looking guy who had a vulnerable Achilles heel …in this case, a double crossing woman named Anna. For the director, with Hellinger out of the picture, Siodmak gained more freedom and changed the storyline, based on a novel by Don Tracy, changing L.A. locations to the more blue collar working class area known as Bunker Hill, adding touches here and there and in the process creating a classic.
Yvonne DeCarlo, who previously co-starred with Lancaster in Jules Dassin’s “Brute Force,” is probably best remembered today as Lily Munster from the 1960’s TV show, “The Munsters.”  DeCarlo was an exotic beauty, though the Latin sounding name is pure fiction, with almond shape eyes and full lips. While her career was long, her list of memorable films is short. Dan Duryea repeats the kind of role he perfected in so many films (Scarlet Street, The Woman in the Window, Too Late For Tears), that of the sleazy, slime filled low-life. Though we have seen it so many times before, he is always fascinating to watch. A very young Richard Long plays Lancaster’s kid brother.

Upon its release, film critics were not kind. The New York Herald-Tribune said, “Lancaster is almost forced into a near parody of his previous dumb brute portrayals. He is given the thankless job of holding down a responsible job at as an armored car policeman and at the same time appearing stupid enough to be led by the nose by a floozy to an improbable group of criminals and his death.” Critic Thomas M. Pryor at the New York Times called the film, “tedious and plodding at times, due partly to Mr. Siodmak’s indulgence of a script that is verbose, redundant and imitative.”
However, over the years, “Criss Cross,” has gained a reputation as a film with a hard bitten cynical outlook and fatal ending. The film contains a leading man who is the classic sap, one of the most treacherous of femme fatales, a woman to die for, and a creepy underworld scumbag hoodlum, appropriately portrayed by Dan Duryea. Mix in the voice over by Lancaster, the dark low key lighting, brilliant composition and you have the perfect mix for a classic film noir.

In 1995, Steven Soderbergh directed, “The Underneath,” a loose remake, with Peter Gallagher and Alison Elliott in the lead roles.


Title: Re: Criss Cross (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 08, 2015, 04:55:29 PM

Btw, have you ever seen the remake Soderbergh made called The Underneath? It's pretty interesting.

No, I haven't seen it yet, but I'll put it in my queue  O0