Perfect movie about the perfect crime.
Johnny is Sterling Hayden (not a very “Johnny”-looking actor, but this was his second Johnny after Johnny Guitar), perfect-crime-planner, with a demeanor nearly as serious as the Dragnet-style voiceover guy who keeps telling us the time. He tells his girl to meet him at the airport, then proceeds to pull off a racetrack robbery with a bunch of inside men and a professional horse-sniper (Timothy Carey, a few years before his opus World’s Greatest Sinner).
Barman Joe Sawyer (in movies since 1930) and cop Ted de Corsia (private eye in Lady From Shanghai) and money man Jay Filppen (of Run of the Arrow) are on board, but sweaty, nervous cashier Elisha Cook Jr (12 years after playing the sex-crazed drummer in Phantom Lady) gives up too many details to his bitch of a wife (Marie Windsor, whose follow-up was Roger Corman’s Swamp Diamonds), which she relays to her boyfriend – who beats Hayden (and the money) to the post-heist meeting place. Everyone gets shot – everyone, even Elisha’s wife who wasn’t even there, and Timothy Carey after insulting parking lot guy James Edwards (of The Steel Helmet). So now it’s just Hayden, who rushes to the airport among heavy police presence, with all his cash in a just-purchased flea-market suitcase with broken locks. After pulling off the perfect crime, Hayden forgot to plan a perfect getaway.
Watched on the Plaza’s big screen in HD. No screengrabs, but here’s a wonderful photo of the male supporting cast from Criterion’s site:
Amazing looking movie, shot by Lucien Ballard (who started with Josef von Sternberg) and produced by James Harris (who’d later make the bizarre Some Call It Loving). Writer Jim Thompson also did Paths of Glory, and his novels would be adapted for Coup de torchon, The Grifters and The Killer Inside Me.