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Asphalt Jungle [Import]

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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1 new from CDN$ 16.99 3 used from CDN$ 13.89

Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, German
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: July 26 1993
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 6301966430
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Product Description


The dark urban world of The Asphalt Jungle is one of the essential destinations in film noir, but be warned: despite tough guy Sterling Hayden's dreams of bucolic escape, there is no way out. John Huston directed this superbly calibrated crime classic, which displays his usual wry appreciation of fringies and down-and-outers. This time the task for Huston's eccentric ensemble is a jewel robbery, which--this being a Huston film--can't possibly work out as well as its plan. The cast includes Sam Jaffee, indelible as a criminal mastermind, and the pre-stardom Marilyn Monroe. Hayden plays the kind of mug he would revisit in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, which is an informal homage to this film. And the film's look is definitive: both artful and gritty, it creates a noir landscape that traps its people just as surely as the tar pits trapped the dinosaurs. No wonder they call it noir. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"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.
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Format: DVD
German-born Doc (Sam Jaffe) assembles a team of expert criminals for a big jewel heist in John Huston's "Asphalt Jungle". The planning of the robbery and the actual crime itself make up the first part of this excellent film. The remainder of the film details the fall-out after the crime. Sterling Hayden is Dix, a country boy tired of being covered in big city dirt; James Whitmore is a cafe owner whose dive is a front for criminal activity; Anthony Caruso as a safecracker with a family: Marc Lawrence as a bookie with his own racket going---all these actors are superb as the gang. Then there's Louis Calhern as Lon, a wealthy businessman whose blown all his money on his mistress Angela (Marilyn Monroe) and wants to pull a scam of his own to "get out from under", and there's Doll (Jean Hagen), a clip-joint girl who loves Dix. Just an incredible cast makes this film worth watching and Huston's taut direction keep it exciting all the way to the end. Surprisingly adult for the time in it's frank depictions of the characters foibles and weaknesses---particularly Jaffe's (Doc) eye for young girls. Monroe has two extended and very telling scenes with Calhern and Hagen is wonderful as the uneducated hard luck Doll. Highly recommended all the way for lovers of tough, juicy noir crime films. The DVD is a good print that includes commentaries (including Whitmore) and an archival introduction by Huston. A truly compelling viewing experience.
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Format: VHS Tape
When director John Huston was edged out of the production of The Killers, he was determined to create a landmark film that would define and embody professional crimminality. Huston exceeded his expectations. The Asphalt Jungle is the seminal "caper film" which inspired a host of similar pictures. Huston assembled a superb cast where each actor represented a character who possessed a special skill needed to complete a million dollar jewel heist. Sam Jaffe is Doc Reidenschneider-the mastermind, Anthony Caruso is Louie Ciavelli- the safe cracker, Marc Lawrence is Coby- the bookmaker who finances the operation, Sterling Hayden is Dix Handley- the enforcer, James Whitmore is Gus- the wheelman,and Louis Calhern is Emmerich- the corrupt attorney who acts as a fence. The characters, especially Doc, Louie, Dix, and Gus, are sketched with blatant realism. Each character is proud of their status and existence within the underworld. Their careers and reputations hinge on their acceptance by fellow professionals. Huston injects the virtues of trust, loyalty, and respect into their crimminal circle and simultaneously questions the code of honor among the rightousness. Emmerich sums up this dichotomy with a memorable line: "There's nothing so different about them (crimminals). Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor." Morality, an issue in most noir films becomes blurred as Emmerich and a graft accepting detective become viewed as figures more contemptable than the crimminals involved in the heist. Sterling Hayden as Dix delivers his most memorable performance. Dix is not just another tough henchman, but a troubled loner trying to ..."wash this city dirt off me". Huston allows viewers unabashed insight into each of his characters.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
'Doc' Riedenschneider, legendary crime 'brain' just out of prison, has a brilliant plan for a million-dollar burglary. To pull it off, he recruits safe cracker Louis, driver Gus, financial backer Emmerich, and strong-arm man Dix Handley. At first the plan goes like clockwork, but little accidents accumulate and each partner proves to have his own fatal weakness. In the background is a pervasive, grimy urban malaise. This film is a model of its kind, frequently copied and remade no less than 3 times.

Hayden is the star of the film but Sam Jaffe and Louis Calhern are not far behind. In fact, the more I watch this film, the more I see the latter two as the real stars here, and I especially have begun to appreciate the great acting by Calhern in here.

Academy Award nominations for Director, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Cinematography.

Sterling Hayden: ever the maverick, ever the individual - he preferred to sail his yacht around the world rather than act in movies. Yet despite his lack of interest in film, he was lauded and chased by the very finest directors: John Huston, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola & Stanley Kubrick. In each of his roles, Hayden's individuality showed forth whatever the genre of film: noir, adventure, western & swashbuckler -- right up to his final film.

1. John Huston [Director]
Date of Birth: 5 August 1906 - Nevada, Missouri
Date of Death: 28 August 1987 - Middletown, Rhode Island

2. Sterling Hayden [aka: Sterling Relyea Walter]
Date of Birth: 26 March 1916- Upper Montclair, New Jersey
Date of Death: 23 May 1986 - Sausalito, California

3. Louis Calhern
Date of Birth: 19 February 1895, Brooklyn, New York
Date of Death: 12 May 1956, Tokyo, Japan
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