After just being released from a five year stint in prison, Johnny Clay has assembled a five man team, including two insiders, to carry out what he estimates will be a $2 million heist at Lansdowne Racetrack, that take, minus expenses, to be split five ways. Besides Johnny, none of the men truly are criminals in the typical sense. In addition to the other four team members, Johnny has hired two men external to the team to carry out specific functions for a flat fee, the other four who will not meet the two men for hire or know who they are, while the two men for hire will not be told of the bigger picture of the heist. None involved are to tell anyone, even their loved ones, about the job, each of the five who has a specific reason for wanting his share of the money: Johnny, in wanting to get married to his longtime girlfriend Fay, the two who have known each other since they were kids, realizes that to live comfortably, he has to shoot for the moon instead of carrying out the penny ...Written by
Director Stanley Kubrick formed a production company with James B. Harris, Harris-Kubrick Pictures, before making this film. Kubrick and Harris bought the rights to the Lionel White pulp novel "The Snatch" for $10,000, but found out that the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA) Code would not allow movies to be made about the kidnapping of children, the premise of White's potboiler. White subsequently swapped the rights to his novel "Clean Break" for "The Snatch" to get them out of the predicament. United Artists had considered buying "Clean Break" as a vehicle for Frank Sinatra. "The Snatch" later was made into The Night of the Following Day (1969) in the more permissive 1960s, when the MPPDA Code had been superseded by the ratings system. See more »
When Sherry is removing her makeup in their room, George is moving toward her. When he hits his mark, announcing that he is dropping out, the shadow of a crew member's head is clearly seen on his shirt and then fade on the right side. See more »
At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race. He was totally disinterested in horse racing and held a lifelong contempt for gambling. Nevertheless, he had a $5 win bet on every horse in the fifth race. He knew, of course, that this rather unique system of betting would more than likely result in a loss, but he didn't...
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Director Stanley Kubrick is best known for "2001: A Space Odyssey." "A Clockwork Orrange" or "The Shining" but I always found this to be my favorite of his films. This is film noir at some of its best: a tight no-nonsense story with tragic consequences, some of the best film noir actors in the business and great cinematography, which looks even better on DVD.
Sterling Hayden is the gang leader in this heist film and the big man was up to the task as he usually was in these kind of crime films. He wasn't as rough a character as he was in "Asphalt Jungle," but his role reminded me of that film.
What made this movie so appealing to me were four very interesting character actors: Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor, Kola Kwariani and Ted de Corsia. Few people had those loser-type film noir characters down pat as well as the tough-talking Windsor and the meek and wimpy Cook. They played a husband-and-wife team here: that's film noir heaven!
Kwariani plays a burley chess-playing wrestler who fights six cops at one time and Carey is a long-distance racist rifleman who talks through clenched-teeth and shoots a racehorse! As I said, some very interesting characters here.
And, oh yeah.....for you over-55 readers, there's Vince Edwards, alias Dr. Ben Casey of TV fame, as a Windsor's young adulterer boyfriend trying to horn in on the money from the robbery.
This film is full of surprises and always fun to watch.
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