Several character types are enlisted for an intricate robbery of the money room at a California horse track but the plan starts to unravel when the greedy, disloyal wife of one the culprits begins to poke her nose in. Presented in disjointed time at breakneck speed, extremely hard-nosed, and with a modern feel, Stanley Kubrick’s crisply shot and edited early work stands among the cream of other noirs produced during the period. In a cast of great faces and tough supporters, Sterling Hayden is a standout as the no nonsense leader, Elisha Cook, Jr. is memorable as the pushover counter worker, and Marie Windsor is excellent as his nefarious wife. The finale is jaw-dropping with a perfect ending and closing line.
**** out of ****