Armored Car Robbery, 1950. 9/10.

Great noir thriller. William Talman excels as the crime boss Purvis. The plot shoots at us with a relentless pace. The heist happens early on, with its inevitable complications leading to the end of the line for Talman.

Adele Jergens nailed down her role as a burlesque dancer, girlfriend to Talman, and sometimes wife to the unlucky Douglas Fowley’s Benny. Despite the short running time, Armored Car Robbery packs in plenty of scenes. The grungy dock area absorbs a lot of the movie, but we’re nonetheless sent around to police headquarters, the sleazy nightclub and seedy bar, and the dark rainy streets and alleys of L.A.

Talman’s hyper demeanor maintains tension; we never know who he’s going to strike out at next. His character’s lack of sensitivity epitomizes the narcissistic criminal personality. His only value is a pay-off; “Here’s to money” is his toast with Jergens. In the brilliant runway scene he’s whacked by an incoming plane, his useless cash tumbling down around him like so much garbage.

McGraw, as the tough police Lieutenant, isn’t not nearly as entertaining as Talman. He does warm up a bit to his new rookie partner, but he’s almost robotic for most of the film. A strong personality projects power. Since we know a Robert Mitchum character is tough, he can have nuances; McGraw has to pile it on so much he comes off as one-dimensional. His performance isn’t bad at all, just not up to Talman’s excellence.

Very rewarding experience on many levels. Worth watching just for Talman and Jergens; not to mention for the atmosphere, plot, and supporting cast. Not to be missed. 9/10.

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