I’m pretty much always going to like film noir, so my fellow film blogger Kristina was wise in choosing a couple of lesser-known noirs for me to watch. Crime Wave is a fairly straight-forward crime drama, with a gang of crooks holding up a gas station – when one of them is wounded, he makes his way to a former associate of theirs, Steve (Gene Nelson), who’s trying to go straight. Before long, Steve’s pulled back in (totally against his will), and becomes something of a battleground between his parole officer, who believes in him, and the detective in charge of the case (Sterling Hayden), who doesn’t.
I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this. I enjoyed it, as I always enjoy noir-tinged crime dramas, and it had some interesting elements to it. I’ve only seen Gene Nelson in musicals before, so it was fun to see him stretch a bit from that. Sterling Hayden is always solid in noir, and he walked a fine line here that kept you guessing a bit what he was ultimately going to do with Steve, since he doesn’t initially believe a con can reform, despite Steve’s obvious sincerity.
Other fun moments help it stand out a little, like the jovial gas station attendant who loves Doris Day and the unusual intimacy of Steve’s relationship with his wife. I always worry about wives in noir (The Big Heat messed me up a little, in a good way), and Steve’s was certainly in some danger for a while, but she held her own and even though the resolution felt a little tacked on, I didn’t care, I was happy with it. A solid, fun little thriller, glad I saw it for sure, but not one that’ll probably stick with me too much in the long run.
Stats and stuff…
directed by AndrÃ© De Toth, written by Crane Wilbur
starring Sterling Hayden, Gene Nelson, Phyllis Kirk, Ted de Corsia, Charles Bronson
I’m ranking all my Challenge films on Flickchart (as I do all the films I see), a movie-ranking website that asks you to choose your favorite between two movies until it builds a ranked list of your favorites. Just for fun, I will average out the rankings and keep a running tally of whose recommendations rank the highest. When you add a film to Flickchart, it pits it against films already on your chart to see where it should fall. Here’s how Crime Wave entered my chart:
Crime Wave > A Dayâ€™s Pleasure
Crime Wave > Sideways
Crime Wave < The Mummy (1999)
Crime Wave < My Darling Clementine
Crime Wave < The Uninvited
Crime Wave < It Should Happen to You
Crime Wave < Orpheus
Crime Wave < The Breaking Point
Crime Wave < Broadway Melody of 1936
Crime Wave < Ran
Crime Wave < Mr. Sardonicus
Crime Wave < X-Men
Final #928 out of 3710 films on my chart (75%)
It is now my #1 Andre de Toth film, my #5 Sterling Hayden film, my #2 Gene Nelson film, my #53 Crime Drama, my #54 Film Noir, my #23 Gangster Film, and my #13 film of 1954.
Crime Wave was recommended by Kristina Dijon, a film blogger friend.
A few more screenshots…