Jules Dassin's trendy reputation (and an awful lot of money) was made with Rififi, Never on Sunday and Topkapi - triumphant European success for a blacklisted Hollywood talent. But cultists groaned, for the 'real' Dassin was surely to be found in the baroque and electrifying Brute Force, the grotesquely Dickensian Night and the City, and - a personal favourite - Thieves' Highway. AI Bezzerides' script (from his own novel Thieves' Market) and the performances of Conte, Cobb, and Cortese (in her American debut) help restrain Dassin's feverish artistic ambitions in this tale of racketeering in the California fruit markets. The result slots sleazy eroticism and rigorous action seamlessly together into a high-grade trucking melo. Nothing more, but nothing less, which in the '40s was the most triumphant kind of American success.
Cast and crew
Lee J Cobb