“Crime is a left-handed form of human endeavor.”
When people list off caper films, it’s a long list that comes to mind — Ocean’s Eleven, Rififi, The Killing, The Ladykillers, Kelly’s Heroes, The Italian Job, The Usual Suspects, even more recently Inception — but the film that really kicked it all off was 1950s masterpiece, The Asphalt Jungle. John Huston co-adapted W. R. Burnett’s novel and turned it into one of his greatest directorial achievements, a story of a group of criminals working hard to pull off the perfect heist only to have everything fall apart in the end. It’s not only the start of the caper subgenre, but also a master work of character development and taut filmmaking.
Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our John Huston series with this fantastic film. We talk about how the film looks at the criminal’s heist and how that balances with the character development. We chat about the amazing actors who bring the film to life — from Sterling Hayden to Marilyn Monroe. We discuss where the film fits in MGM’s body of work and how it felt different for what the studio was churning out at the time. And we revel in the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography shot by Harold Rosson that gives the film a haunting, gray film noir vibe and helps define this jungle — this city beneath the city.
It’s a film that quickly shot up our list of favorite films upon rewatching and is definitely worth talking about. Tune in!
- Original Script
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- The Asphalt Jungle — W.R. Burnett
Assorted Notes & Links