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CHARLES BRONSON NOIR OF 'CRIME WAVE' AKA 'THE CITY IS DARK'

Charles Bronson in CRIME WAVE Year: 1953
Norman Mailer was dead wrong when, years after CRIME WAVE aka THE CITY IS DARK, he wrote TOUGH GUYS DON’T DANCE because, well, James Cagney could tear up the floorboards, as could 99 RIVER STREET John Payne...

And the buried CRIME WAVE lead... overshadowed by rigid cop Sterling Hayden, a young Charles Bronson, lead thug Ted de Corsia and a thoroughly demented Timothy Carey... is played by Gene Nelson, perhaps the most incredible dancer before and after, keeping cool and tough in his first ultra-serious role as Steve Lacey, an ex-convict paid a surprise visit by three of his old friends: You can put quotes on that since these guys are hardly pals. They all shared a prison stint, and the trio, after escaping, kill a cop... One gets shot and now they need a place to hole up DESPERATE HOURS style, much to Lacey’s even-keeled, slowburn chagrin. He has a great job as an airplane mechanic, and a beautiful wife in Phyllis Kirk’s Ellen, who, during the eleventh hour, has to weather Timothy Carey going so dynamically, eye-blinking wacko he’s well worth the wait.

Sterling Hayden, Gene Nelson in CRIME WAVE Rating: ****
Especially after all the edgy build-up where Bronson’s Ben Hastings has his own narrowed, non-trusting, lethal eyes on a shifty veterinarian; de Corsia’s Doc Penny stresses an upcoming (and ultimately rushed) bank job; and Sterling Hayden in a fitfully basic, toothpick chomping role as Detective Lt. Sims, doing a low budget version of what John McIntire wanted from Hayden's  gang in ASPHALT JUNGLE: to bust ‘em all…

We go from the scantly designed, noticeable anemic budgeted police station set to the fitfully claustrophobic apartment locale, the best scenes involve flowing exterior direction by André De Toth out on the gritty streets, for real – as if the City of Angels consisted only of purgatory alleyways and dilapidated buildings: A viciously sparse canvas that the characters exist in and can’t escape from: the good guys, the bad guys, and like all true Noirs, those ambiguous unlucky souls caught desperately in-between.
Timothy Carey has his bulging eyes on Phyllis Kirk in CRIME WAVE
Timothy Carey's signature teeth-grating smile w/ Charles Bronson in CRIME WAVE
Timothy Carey, Gene Nelson and Sterling Hayden in CRIME WAVE
Sterling Hayden in CRIME WAVE
Desperate breakfast with Phyllis Kirk, Tod de Corsia, Gene Nelson and Charles Bronson, CRIME WAVE
Gene Nelson and Ted de Corsia, CRIME WAVE
Phyllis Kirk faces Sterling Hayden in CRIME WAVE
Gene Nelson and Sterling Hayden in CRIME WAVE
Sterling Hayden on the run in reverse in CRIME WAVE
Example of low budget film noir set in Sterling Hayden's office in CRIME WAVE
Timothy Carey and Phyllis Kirk in CRIME WAVE
CRIME WAVE is a Noir that went out of the studio and into the streets
Gene Nelson pressured by Sterling Hayden in CRIME WAVE
Charles Bronson aka Charles Buchinsky w/ Phyllis Kirk in CRIME WAVE
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