Ah, summer. Many folks long to get away from the day to day routine of life. Maybe visit an exotic location. Meet some interesting people. Have an adventure! Can't get away? Well, that's where movies come in handy. We can hit the road to an exotic location, meet some interesting people and have an adventure all from the comfort of our favourite chair.
Our behind-the-scenes tour guide on the trip known as The Big Steal is Don Siegel, early in his career change from editor and montage creator (The Roaring Twenties, Gentleman Jim) to director (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Charley Varrick). Our on-screen hosts are Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum, stars of 1947s Out of the Past as a couple with a twisted, angst-filled relationship that drips pure noir. This time around the characters played by our attractive leads do not have a past, but a present filled with danger.
Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum
The Big Steal, based on crime and western writer Richard Wormser's The Road to Carmichael's, is a road picture filmed on location in Tehuacan, Pueblo and at the Iverson Ranch. A gentleman by the name of Fisk played by Patric Knowles (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Auntie Mame) is a very popular fellow. His former fiance played by Jane Greer is most anxious to locate him and the $2,000 he "borrowed". Robert Mitchum is after Fisk for reasons which are initially unclear, but may parallel Ms. Greer's somewhat. Hot on Mitchum's tail is a door crashing, gun toting, hot headed William Bendix (The Blue Dahlia, Kill the Umpire). When there's a door crashing, gun toting, hot headed guy following you, you just want to keep moving, but watch where you're going as you might bump into a fussy art dealer played by John Qualen (The Grapes of Wrath, Casablanca).
These visitors to Mexico may well give tourists a bad name. They lie, cheat, speed, shoot and make general nuisances of themselves all over the countryside. None of their actions go unobserved as a very cool and smart official in the form of Inspector General Ortega played by Ramon Novarro (The Cat and the Fiddle, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ) works his own agenda.
The great fun in The Big Steal is the relationship between Greer and Mitchum that begins with outright dislike and progresses to wary admiration then trust through their masterful way with wisecracks and innuendo. The vigorous chase scenes and characterizations make The Big Steal a joy to watch.
TCM has a day of crime pictures on tap Tuesday, July 8th. Check out The Big Steal scheduled for 4:15 pm. It's a dandy!