I just watched The Big Combo (1955) again – one of my favorite film noirs. (I talked about it earlier in this post). Fantastic cinematography, and a great cast of characters. It has a rich trove of noir themes, woven together with subtlety and skill.
One reason I like these old B-movies is that they work within a genre, with familiar situations and themes, and we usually aren’t very surprised by the plot developments. (Do we need surprise to enjoy something?) We’ve seen it all before; we know how it will all end. It’s familiar. The repetition of stories and conclusions accumulates to give the latest one the force of myth. No self-conscious striving after effect or novelty. Not that the great ones didn’t innovate, but it was within the limits of the genre.
Cornell Wilde plays Lt. Larry Diamond, a man with a mission. He wants to rid…
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