Three San Quentin escapees (Penny, Hastings and Morgan) kill a cop in a gas-station holdup. Wounded, Morgan flees through black-shadowed streets to the handiest refuge: with former cellmate Steve Lacey, who’s paroled, with a new life and lovely wife, and can’t afford to be caught associating with old cronies. But homicide detective Sims wants to use Steve to help him catch Penny and Hastings, who in turn extort his help in a bank job. Is there no way out for Steve?
Rod Crawford <[email protected]>
User Reviews: And we fans of film noir prize nastiness and cold-heartedness. We also like small movies.
Gene Nelson is very affecting as a parolee who is dragged into a crime against his will. Phyllis Kirk is fine as his wife. She doesn’t add much flavor but she’s believably loyal.
For flavor, we have none other than Timothy Carey! He is one of the bad guys. Charles Bronson, early in his career, is another. Carey adds a great deal of creepiness to the goings-on.
Sterling Hayden is excellent as the cynical cop who’s called in. Though the plot tells us nothing about him other than that he’s given up smoking and misses it, he is clearly not a warm human being. His eyes squint and shift. He doesn’t trust anyone and it’s very possible he doesn’t like much of anyone, either.
The movie begins with Dub Taylor as an exceptionally goofy gas station attendant. He’s like a character from the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series. But our villains knock him out and rob him, which is a jarring contrast.
The characters are very well drawn in "Crime Wave." It has a tough plot but the people are what elevates it to a high status.