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BURT LANCASTER IN ROBERT SIODMAK'S HEIST-NOIR 'CRISS CROSS'

Title: CRISS CROSS Year: 1949 Rating: ***

Burt Lancaster became a breakout star in director Robert Siodmak's complicated heist-noir THE KILLERS, and after his followup in Jules Dassin's prison drama BRUTE FORCE, he returned with Siodmak in what's a crime thriller more scrambled than hard-boiled... and in CRISS CROSS, like that first film, Lancaster ultimately steals stolen money from a big score...

Before that is terrific shadowy-interior atmosphere including a central tavern and various apartment rooms planning a much more basic heist involving armored cars from an armored car company owned by icy villain Dan Duryea...

Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS

And he's really only the heavy for marrying Lancaster's sexy ex-wife Yvonne De Carlo, who, as a manipulative semi-fatale, has Burt's Steve Thompson convinced she's being domestically abused... providing the usual cliche side-plot of murder or double-cross against a dangerous criminal simply because the dame requests it...

Meanwhile, the heist in act three is well-filmed and crams suspense and tension deliberately missing through the first two acts: that are instead sparsely filled with tight, clever, pulpy dialogue...

Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea, Tom Pedi and Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS

And yet, beginning with Lancaster's return to his old job while seeking his former love, experiencing CRISS CROSS almost feels like walking into a movie halfway through...

Or a sequel to an original that had already fleshed-out the characters (including sporadically lecturing cop Stephen McNally) with some 11th hour action and wispy romance to complete what's more a noir programmer than a full-course meal... yet is still pretty satisfying.

Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS with Yvonne De Carlo
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Dan Duryyea in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Dan Duryyea in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS with Yvonne De Carlo
Tom Pedi and Dan Duryyea in CRISS CROSS with Yvonne De Carlo
Tom Pedi and Dan Duryyea in CRISS CROSS
Stephen McNally in CRISS CROSS
Robert Osterloh in CRISS CROSS
Robert Osterloh in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS with Stephen McNally
Burt Lancaster in CRISS CROSS
Yvonne De Carlo in CRISS CROSS
Titles for CRISS CROSS

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