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Thieves’ Highway (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on November 26, 2010

Boy, I’m starting to get embarrassed by my old reviews. I gave this a mediocre 7 the first time, but it’s far better than that, right up there with Night and the City. It’s just so action-packed, it’s like The Wages of Fear without all the dull intro stuff. Last time I bitched about the upbeat ending, but now I realize how much it’s earned. You can’t help but want things to turn out well for Richard Conte, with all of his false triumphs and major setbacks. Although the climax does involve a bit of deus ex machina, the general tone of it is just fine and the rest of the film is plenty dark enough. Conte maneuvers through a world of cheats, cutthroats and chiselers of varying degrees, trying his damnedest to keep above it and still earn vengeance for his father. The film has some terrific photography, biting (and witty) dialogue, and most of all a wonderful array of character actors. Just about every performance is a winner, but special mention to Valentina Cortese, who plays a major role in turning the good girl/bad girl motif on its ear. A gripping and highly watchable movie, and despite my earlier claims, very noir. I’m still left with the same nagging question though… who the hell fixed Nick’s tire? Rating: 9


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