Friday, June 8, 2012

KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952)

Revenge fueled noir about a police chief forced into an early retirement who nearly gets away with the perfect crime: tricking three wanted men into robbing an armored truck and then "accidentally" spotting them and turning them in for the $300,000 reward. Pretty slick plan and he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for florist delivery driver John Payne. You see florist delivery driver John Payne is the unsuspecting fall guy in the operation (the crooks use a double of his truck) and immediately after the robbery he's arrested then beaten and tortured for days by the police in an effort to get an confession. It's not until the vehicle double is found that he's released, but by now he's been fired from his job and his reputation drug through the dirt in the newspapers. The only thing left for him to do is catch (or kill) the robbers himself...especially since they're sitting on a million clams.

Some of the tough guy scenes are a little dated and cheesy, but overall I've always had a soft spot for this movie. The pace is nice, good story, awesome hard-boiled slang like "heater, fisheye, two-bit heel, trick cheaters, sucker move" and a strong cast: John Payne, Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam, Preston Foster and Coleen Gray. There's also a number uncredited appearances by lesser known actors like Carleton Young, James Conaty, Charles Cane, Lee Phelps (who starred in over 600 movies!!!), William Haade, Howard Negly and Roger Moore...no not that Roger Moore, the other one from the "Three Stooges" shorts and a ton of movies.

Definitely worth a purchase if you’re a noir fan.