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Criss Cross

Criss Cross

Director:Robert Siodmak
Cast:Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally
Screen Writer:Robert Siodmak

At the Charles Theatre for two shows: July 3 at noon and July 8 at 9 p.m.

By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted 6/30/2004

In this quite effective pre-Vertigo tragedy of obsessive love, Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) returns to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles and attempts to rekindle his relationship with ex-wife Anna (Yvonne De Carlo). Things seem to go well at first—until Anna suddenly remarries hardened gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). A balanced person would probably move on, but Steve proves himself no balanced man, and he falls into a web of crime and despair that puts his job as an armored-car driver very much in jeopardy. Lancaster’s intense performance as an otherwise rational man pushed to the brink by a quintessential femme fatale flirts with being over-the-top—but in the exact way one would want a gritty noir performance to do so. Criss Cross (1949) well earns its reputation as perhaps the best-known noir by Robert Siodmak after ’46’s The Killers (also starring Lancaster). A dark, sweaty, perfectly photographed picture from an underrated American filmmaker.

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