032 - The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Deep in the underground of the major cities in the world are crime organisations that are hidden away from prying eyes... welcome to The Asphalt Jungle.

Mastermind Doc (Sam Jaffe) has just been released from prison, and he turns his attention back to crime - a major heist he'd planned before he was sent down three years ago. He enlists the help of dodgy bookkeeper Conovan (Jean Hagen) to help him search for Emmerich (Louis Calhern) - the bent lawyer who has kept his head above water thanks to his knowledge of the law.

They recruit Dix (Sterling Hayden), a safe cracker and getaway driver Gus. Upon hearing rumours that Emmerich is planning to backstab him, Doc asks Dix to help him retrieve the money from Emmerich. Although the heist goes to plan, the world of the underground crime starts to unravel as backstabbing takes its toll on the thieves and the police close the net.

Theatrical Poster
The Asphalt Jungle immediately immerses the audience in the action - the heist itself appears towards the beginning of the second quarter of the film. Throughout the film, I had no idea who was going to win - the police or the thieves... and if the thieves, then which thieves. This easily held my captivation at every turn.

A fleeting appearance from Marilyn Monroe is always welcome although her role only ends up as a cameo. The director and writers don't overdo her role and as such she ends up as an extra - just where her character belonged, really.

The starring role went to Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe - their double act throughout was joyous as I egged them on to outsmart the ever-tightening net of the law.

A thoroughly enjoyable film.