The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle

Director: John Huston Cast: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, James Whitmore

Blu-ray (Special Edition / Wide Screen / Restored)

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Overview

The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle is a brilliantly conceived and executed anatomy of a crime -- or, as director John Huston and scripter Ben Maddow put it, "a left-handed form of human endeavor." Recently paroled master criminal Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe), with funding from crooked attorney Emmerich (Louis Calhern), gathers several crooks together in Cincinnati for a Big Caper. Among those involved are Dix (Sterling Hayden), an impoverished hood who sees the upcoming jewel heist as a means to finance his dream of owning a horse farm. Hunch-backed cafe owner (James Whitmore) is hired on to be the driver for the heist; professional safecracker Louis Ciavelli (Anthony Caruso) assembles the tools of his trade; and a bookie (Marc Lawrence) acts as Emmerich's go-between. The robbery is pulled off successfully, but an alert night watchman shoots Ciavelli. Corrupt cop (Barry Kelley), angry that his "patsy" (Lawrence) didn't let him in on the caper, beats the bookie into confessing and fingering the other criminals involved. From this point on, the meticulously planned crime falls apart with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. Way down on the cast list is Marilyn Monroe in her star-making bit as Emmerich's sexy "niece"; whenever The Asphalt Jungle would be reissued, Monroe would figure prominently in the print ads as one of the stars. The Asphalt Jungle was based on a novel by the prolific W.R. Burnett, who also wrote Little Caesar and Saint Johnson (the fictionalized life story of Wyatt Earp).

Product Details

Release Date: 12/13/2016
UPC: 0715515190619
Original Release: 1950
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion
Region Code: A
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Time: 1:52:00
Sales rank: 14,190

Special Features

New 2k digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; Audio Commentary from 2004 by film historian Drew Casper, featuring archival recordings of actor James Whitmore; Pharos of Chaos, a 1983 documentary about actor Sterling Hayden; New interviews with film noir historian Eddie Muller and Cinematographer John Bailey; Archival footage of Writer-Director John Huston discussing the film; Episode of the television program City Lights from 1979 featuring Huston; Audio excerpts of an archival interview with Huston; Trailer; Plus: An essay by critic Geoffrey O'Brien

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sterling Hayden Dix Handley
Louis Calhern Alonzo D. Emmerich
James Whitmore Gus Ninissi
Jean Hagen Doll Conovan
Sam Jaffe Doc Erwin Riedenschneider
John McIntire Police Commissioner Hardy
Marilyn Monroe Angela Phinlay
Marc Lawrence Cobby
Barry Kelley Lt. Ditrich
Anthony Caruso Louis Ciavelli
Teresa Celli Maria Ciavelli
Wee Willie Davis Timmons
Dorothy Tree May Emmerich
Brad Dexter Bob Brannen
John Maxwell Dr. Swanson
Tom Browne Henry James X. Connery
Alex Gerry Maxwell
James Seay Officer Janocek
Don Haggerty Detective Andrews
Henry Rowland Franz Schurz
Helene Stanley Jeannie
Raymond Roe Tallboy
Judith Wood Woman
Ralph Dunn Policeman
Pat Flaherty Policeman
Jack Shea Policeman
John Cliff Policeman
Ray Teal Policeman
Frank Cady Night Clerk
Strother Martin Karl Anton Smith
Henry Corden William Doldy
Benny Burt Driver
Fred Graham Truck Driver
Bill Washington Suspect
Kerry O'Day Girl
Patricia Miller Girl
Eloise Hardt Vivian
Alberto Morin Eddie Donato
Wilson Wood Man
Tim Ryan Jack; Police Clerk
Howard Mitchell Secretary
Sol (Saul) Gorss Policeman
Joseph Darr Smith Reporter

Technical Credits
John Huston Director,Screenwriter
George Boemler Editor
Jack Dawn Makeup
Randall Duell Art Director
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arthur Hornblow Producer
Ben Maddow Screenwriter
Jack D. Moore Set Decoration/Design
Harold Hal Rosson Cinematographer
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After watching The Asphalt Jungle, one can see that this kind of film noir is what inspired the modern great Pulp Fiction. Gritty, seedy realism in black and white, in a city where not everything, or everyone, is as it seems. Ominous and suffocating, The Asphalt Jungle is dark, ambigous, and an absolutely compelling film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The disquieting urban landscape and deeply disturbed motley crew of spurious characters that populate ¿The Asphalt Jungle¿ make the film one of the essential destinations for fans of film noir. The films artfully gritty atmosphere is perhaps its best selling feature, though, truth be told, there is nothing about the production that is second rate. Basically, it¿s a jewel heist caper gone horribly wrong but carried off with such panache and attention to detail by director, John Huston that one has to admire both the economy of plot and depth of characters fleshed out within the context of two hours. Huston¿s great knack for extolling unusual and breakthrough performances from his ensemble is working overtime on this occasion. While we might be used to seeing Sam Jaffe as a nefarious rogue (here, he¿s Doc, the criminal mastermind with a weakness for hoop earrings and tight skirts), the extraordinary off kilter performance of Louis Calhern ¿ as middle aged fencer, Ennrich/sugar daddy to Marilyn Monroe, is so menacing in its undertone, that one wishes the actor had been given the opportunity to play more such parts. There is nothing cartoonish or cliché about any of the characters in the film. Sterling Hayden¿s particularly powerful as Dix Handley, the tense enforcer of the group. This is a story about out of control people losing control of their lives. Huston captures the immediacy of these tragic lives and the overwhelming sense of doom. As one might expect, it ends badly for all concerned though, within the context of this review I won¿t say exactly how. The transfer on ¿The Asphalt Jungle¿ is better than average, though it¿s not perfect. The gray scale has a richly balanced look with deep solid blacks and clean whites. On occasion grain looks heavier than it should and contrast levels seem a tad low. Still, this DVD is considerable improvement over previously issued VHS tapes. Age related artifacts are present but do not terribly distract. The audio is mono but nicely balanced. The more intent listener will notice some hiss but nothing that will distract. Drew Casper provides the audio commentary here. There are a few inserts of audio from James Whitmore that will most surely enhance your appreciation for this film. All in all, another good disc to add to your library of classic film noir.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Huston does a great job. His direction is flawless. It cannot be topped. Sterling Hayden looked the part exactly. This was a great film with excellent potential.