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Kiss the Blood Off My HandsOn Classic Film Noir$
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Robert Miklitsch

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038594

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038594.001.0001

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A Little Larceny

A Little Larceny

Labor, Leisure, and Loyalty in the ’50s Noir Heist Film

(p.171) 9 A Little Larceny
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands

Mark Osteen

University of Illinois Press

This chapter looks at the '50s heist picture—a subgenre of '50s gangster noir—examining John Huston's Asphalt Jungle (1950). In Huston's film, the criminal gang resembles nothing so much as a corporation that mimics the increasing organization and alienation of the “age of anxiety.” Subsequent noir heist films elaborate on this topic, dramatizing the conflict between the individual and the crime syndicate. In these “capers,” the “foot soldier” frequently finds himself caught between the police and the boss—the Law and “Murder, Inc.”—a dire predicament where, as always seems to be the case in the overdetermined universe of classic noir, there's no way out.

Keywords:   1950s, heist picture, gangster noir, John Huston, Asphalt Jungle, noir heist films, classic noir, anxiety

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