Post-’50s Syndicate, Rogue Cop, and “Big Caper” Films
The dialectic between the individual and collective in gangster noir continues in the post-’50s period. The individualist emphasis is most obvious in the syndicate and rogue cop film, achieving something of a classical synthesis in Samuel Fuller’s Underworld U.S.A. (1961) and, courtesy of Robert Mitchum’s bravura performance as Max Cady, a baroque climax in J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear (1961). Though the postclassic heist movie can be categorized in terms of its “cosmopolitan,” “Las Vegas,” and “civil rights” variants, Lewis Milestone’s Ocean’s 11 (1960) not only exhibits these various subgenres but also proffers a postmodern gloss on the oppositional collective implicit in The Phenix City Story and Odds against Tomorrow.
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