Men in big hats gather round The Chief to hear the word. Whether they're cops or robbers is irrelevant; it's equally unimportant why the same guys are now creeping up a stairway in single file, just before tommy gun bullets stud the wall in a chiaroscuro firefight (plenty of oscuro, not a lot of chiaro). Here is a genre in the process of fine-tuning its own imagery via the tale of a tough young flic lured to cocaine-soaked destruction by a soulless femme fatale. Catalogue, in other words under noir, antecedents of. But it's not the real thing, not quite yet, because the rhythms are all wrong, especially the cutting. This goes like a train, so Warner-esque you'd hardly be surprised if Cagney and Pat O'Brien appeared in gendarme outfits.