Ex-convict Johnny Clay recruits a gang for what he claims will be his last job: to steal $2 million from a heavily guarded racetrack.
This accomplished thriller based on Lionel White’s novel Clean Break was Stanley Kubrick’s third feature.
Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor and Elisha Cook Jr are among the doomed criminals taking part in a racetrack robbery and, rather than tell the story straight, Kubrick scrambles the time sequence and follows separate strands of the plot towards their conclusion, detailing the planning, the robbery itself and the disastrous aftermath.
Although influenced by John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle (1950), as well as the French classic Rififi (1955), directed by Jules Dassin, Kubrick turns a familiar story into a masterly display of technique and a moving study of desperate characters who are in thrall to fate.
Kirk Douglas was so impressed by the film that he agreed to star in Kubrick’s next project, Paths of Glory (1957), the success of which set the seal on Kubrick’s reputation.
Elisha Cook Jr
Jay C Flippen
Ted De Corsia