Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Patric Knowles, Ramon Novarro, Don Alvarado, John Qualen, Pascual Garcia Pena
Written by: Geoffrey Homes (a.k.a. Daniel Mainwaring), Gerald Drayson Adams, based on a story by Richard Wormser
Directed by: Don Siegel
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 72
Date: 07/09/1949
IMDB

The Big Steal (1949)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Law and Borders

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Don Siegel began as a montage editor for Warner Brothers, cutting together pictures of maps and stock footage for movies like Casablanca (1942). His directorial career ran along the edge of "B" movies, slowly creeping up in quality and budget until his 1971 hit Dirty Harry. His early feature The Big Steal is notable for its brightness and its realistic Los Angeles and Mexican locations. Lt. Duke Halliday (Robert Mitchum) arrives looking for Fiske (Patric Knowles), who apparently stole a bag full of army payroll. He teams up with Fiske's former girl (Jane Greer), who is looking for $2000 she once loaned to Fiske and never saw again. Halliday's superior officer Capt. Vincent Blake (William Bendix) is also on the trail. Characters pretend to be other characters and no one is precisely who they seem. Siegel packs lots of chases and action into 72 minutes, with a great ending. Mitchum, Greer and writer Geoffrey Homes (a.k.a. Daniel Mainwaring), had also worked on the great Out of the Past two years earlier. The Big Steal comes in a double bill with Illegal (1955).

See also: Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 4