Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hayden. Carey. Bronson. De Toth. TCM's Film Noir of the Week at Midnight ET Saturday Night-Sunday Morning (and 10 a.m. Sunday!) is the Warner Brother’s Classic, Crime Wave (1954)



Italian poster

By David in TN
Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 4:10:00 PM EDT


Sterling Hayden

TCM's Film Noir of the Week at Midnight ET Saturday Night-Sunday Morning is Crime Wave (1954).

The Bad Guys planning the job

Crime Wave has a great cast. Sterling Hayden is a no-nonsense LAPD detective. Ted de Corsia is a Fifties-Style crook leading a small gang, which includes Timothy Carey and a beginning actor named Charles Buchinsky (later Charles Bronson) as psycho types. De Corsia and Bronson are San Quentin escapees who kill a cop, while robbing a downtown L.A. gas station.

Phyllis Kirk and Gene Nelson

Bronson might have more dialogue in this film as a supporting actor than he did as the lead in Hard Times (1975).

Phyllis Kirk, Gene Nelson, and a young Charlie Buchinsky, later known as Charles Bronson

Movie theater lobby poster

Gene Nelson (usually a song and dance man) plays a ex-con trying to go straight when the crooks come to his apartment and rope him into their bank robbery scheme. Phyllis Kirk plays his loyal wife whom the gang holds hostage to get Nelson to go along.


Andre De Toth directed. Warner Brothers wanted Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner but De Toth went with Hayden and Kirk. A very enjoyable B film, which I highly recommend.

Timothy Carey was an eccentric character actor who made few movies, and died young. However, some of those pictures were Stanley Kubrick classics (Paths of Glory (1957) and The Killing (1959), and Carey somehow managed to inspire his own cult.

Crime Wave repeats on TCM at 10 a.m. ET Sunday morning, May 20.


Spanish poster

Crime Wave was also released as The City is Dark

1 comment:

David In TN said...

TCM's Film Noir of the Week at Midnight ET Saturday Night-Sunday Morning (and 10 am Sunday) is The Clay Pigeon (1949).

The Clay Pigeon has an angle seen in several late 40's film noirs--The amnesiac WW II veteran. In this one, the vet is accused of treason while in a Japanese POW camp. He wakes up in a navy hospital under guard but escapes and goes on the run.

Bill Williams stars as the veteran. Barbara Hale, Williams' real-life wife, teams with him to find the truth. Richard Loo, the movies favorite Japanese bad guy, plays a Japanese prison camp guard now in the USA living in Los Angeles involved in a criminal gang. This sadistic guard was called "The Weasel" by the American prisoners.

Richard Fleischer directed with his usual style of getting a lot of action in a 63 minute film.

Richard Loo's character is obviously based on Tomoya Kawakita, who was a Nisei who went to Japan in 1939 and was employed (as were several Japanese-Americans) as guards, who generally were as brutal as the others. Kawakita was called the "Meatball" by the American prisoners.

Kawakita reentered the United States after the war. He was spotted by a former POW in Los Angeles who took down Kawakita's license plate leading to his arrest and trial for treason. This was in the news when The Clay Pigeon was made.

Kawakita was convicted of treason and sentenced to death, which was commuted in 1953. Kawakita was paroled and deported to Japan 10 years late on the condition he not come back.

Google "Tomoya Kawakita" for information on the case.

The Clay Pigeon repeats at 10 am ET Sunday, May 27. Let's see if our friend Eddie Muller mentions Kawakita AKA "The Meatball" being the inspiration for Richard Loo's "The Weasel."