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CORNEL WILDE, JEAN WALLACE & RICHARD CONTE 'THE BIG COMBO'

Richard Conte & Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO Year: 1955 Rates: ****

Given a dollar for every time Richard Conte's big time gangster says he makes more money than idealist cop Cornel Wilde, you'd be richer than Conte's Mr. Brown, a kingpin with an Achilles Heel shown right off the bat: his reluctant and guilt-ridden, suicidal moll, Jean Wallace, Who becomes more of a wishbone between Wilde and Conte, and it's a gritty, sleazy, jazz-soaked time reaching a conclusion that becomes more  unpredictable with another dame in the mix... 

And low-rent showgirl Helen Walker has more femme fatale attitude despite being the cop's girl, "used like a glove when he's cold" and, with Wallace's Susan spitefully in love with her first love Conte, things get pretty chilly in this late Noir that, like many, recalls the sparse 1930's gangster style over the sinfully lavish programmers of the 40's...

Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman in THE BIG COMBO

But the real scene-stealers are Conte's two thugs, dumbbell Earl Holliman and his iron-clad counterpart Lee Van Cleef, part of the best scene when Conte's put-upon number two (formerly number one) in semi-deaf Brian Donlevy doesn't hear the gunshots (along with the audience),,,

Some great tough stuff here... And with one woman's word threatening the gangster's entire operation, tailed by the determined cop, there's some BIG HEAT going on as well.

Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman in THE BIG COMBO with Brian Donlevy
Lee Van Cleef and Brian Donlevy in THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte and Earl Holliman in THE BIG COMBO

Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy and Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
Dana Andrews' cinema regular Roy Gordon & Jean Wallace in The Big Combo
Jean Wallace and Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
HELEN WALKER in THE BIG COMBO
Lee Van Cleef and Brian Donlevy in THE BIG COMBO
Earl Holliman, Lee Van Cleef and Brian Donlevy in THE BIG COMBO
Earl Holliman, Lee Van Cleef and Richard Conte in THE BIG COMBO
Lee Van Cleef, Brian Donlevy and Earl Holliman in THE BIG COMBO
Cornel Wilde and Helen Walker in THE BIG COMBO
Cornel Wilde and Helen Walker in THE BIG COMBO
Brian Donlevy, Richard Conte, Lee Van Cleef & Earl Holliman in THE BIG COMBO
Opening Credits with jazz for THE BIG COMBO
Opening Credits with jazz for THE BIG COMBO
Opening Credits with jazz for THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte's cornered Waterloo in THE BIG COMBO
"Hate... and the girls will come tumbling after!" Richard Conte, The Big Combo
Richard Conte and Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
Brian Donlevy in THE BIG COMBO
Brian Donlevy, Earl Holiman and Lee Van Cleef in THE BIG COMBO
Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte and JEAN WALLACE in THE BIG COMBO
Helen Walker and Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman in THE BIG COMBO with Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace in THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte and Brian Donlevy in THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte and Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte and Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO
Richard Conte and Jean Wallace in THE BIG COMBO
Cornel Wilde in THE BIG COMBO

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