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…

1954, USA
directed by André 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 Day’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…