Pic of the Day: “Crime Wave” revisited

To celebrate the birthday anniversary of the great Ted de Corsia, born in Brooklyn this date in 1903, we take another look at Crime Wave (1954), directed by Andre’ de Toth. This is a publicity still for the film under its original title, The City is Dark.

aka Crime Wave

Also appearing here are (left to right) Phyllis Kirk, Gene Nelson, Jim Hayward, and the familiar-looking fellow in the white t-shirt is Charles Buchinsky. You probably know him better under the name he began using shortly afterwards – Charles Bronson.

Quote of the Week

[Ted] De Corsia‘s sidekick in Crime Wave is the young Charles Bronson, who not only flexes impressively, but growls a few great henchman lines. Leveling his gun at Ellen, he smiles at her husband: “You want I should clip a curl off the cutie?” [Andre’] DeToth loved the primitive contours of Bronson’s face, and his atavistic grace. He used them smartly in several pictures, including the 3-D House of Wax. The gang also included the amusingly unstable Timothy Carey, who is so brain damaged that midway through sexually intimidating Phyllis Kirk he becomes distracted and forgets what he’s doing. Crime Wave was one of the first films that would prompt viewers to ask of Carey: “What the hell is wrong with this guy?”

Crime Wave key set photo #2

Pic of the Day: “Crime Wave” revisited

Today we observe the 93rd birthday anniversary of legendary cinematic tough guy Charles Bronson. Here he is with Timothy and Jim Hayward in a scene from Andre’ De Toth‘s noir masterpiece Crime Wave (1954).

Crime Wave

Born Charles Dennis Buchinsky to a Lithuanian coal-mining family in Pennsylvania (one of fifteen children), Bronson was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. After a stint in the coal mines himself, he flew bombers in World War II and received a Purple Heart. Odd jobs after the war brought him to a theater group in Philadelphia. He soon found himself in New York City and then Hollywood, determined to pursue an acting career. Like Timothy, he turned in many small and/or uncredited performances in film and on television throughout the 1950s. His big break came when Roger Corman cast him in the title role of Machine-Gun Kelly (1958). Shortly afterwards he won the lead in the TV series Man with a Camera (1958-1960). Important supporting turns in films such as The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1964) and The Dirty Dozen (1967) followed. He then headed to Europe and made several spaghetti Westerns, including Sergio Leone‘s incredible Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). He came back to the United States a bona fide star, and he remained one until his untimely death from pneumonia in 2003. He once said, “Someday I’d like a part where I can lean my elbow against a mantlepiece and have a cocktail.”

Pic of the Day: “The City is Dark” publicity still

Today’s pic is another publicity still for Andre’ De Toth‘s Crime Wave (1954) under its original (and, I believe, more fitting) title, The City is Dark. Timothy and his gang – Jim Hayward, Ted de Corsia, and Charles Bronson – menace Phyllis Kirk and Gene Nelson.

aka Crime Wave

As the 16th annual Noir City Los Angeles Film Noir Festival prepares to launch tomorrow, I can’t think of a better film to get yourself psyched up for it. “How come the smart guys are inside and the dopes outside?”

Pics of the Day: “Crime Wave”

Every now and then I peruse Tumblr for pics tagged with Timothy’s name, especially animated .gifs. That’s where I found these (!), and today I found a few more. If I knew how to make these things I would, but for now I’ll leave it to the professionals. These were posted by an individual known only as phb256, and they’re from Andre’ De Toth‘s Crime Wave (1954).

Crime Wave

Crime Wave

Crime Wave

Non-animated are Charles Bronson, Ted de Corsia, Gene Nelson and Jim Hayward. Many thanks to whoever was clever enough to make these. I salute you! You may also want to check out my own Tumblr, run by my burlesque persona Loxie Arcane (guess where that name came from?).

Quote of the Week

That’s particularly true for his film noir roles. Few debuts in the genre have been more striking or unnerving than Carey’s brief interludes in Andre’ de Toth‘s atmospheric Crime Wave (1954). In the uncredited role of pervert-punk Johnny Haslett, who lives in the seedy Chinatown hideout used by crooks Ted de Corsia and Charles Bronson, Carey’s first appearance (more than 50 minutes into the film) is like a bucket of ice water hitting your face at high speed.

De Toth aims the camera directly at Carey, who flips on his psychotic high beams and blows the scene away. He sustains a deranged grin while uttering dialogue through gritted teeth, then goes into a series of goofy facial contortions, all the while nervously fiddling with a deck of cards. It’s warped, it’s wild – but it’s also wonderful.

It gets better, too, when Carey moves into the background in the next scene at the hideout. With de Corsia, Bronson, and Gene Nelson in the foreground discussing their plans, Carey draws attention to himself sitting on the floor nearby. He’s mugging for all he’s worth, puffing furiously on a cigarette and blowing smoke rings through his teeth. Then, when Nelson frets that he must leave his girlfriend (Phyllis Kirk) with this cretin while they all go out on a caper, Carey slurs a deranged, menacing one-liner while still hunched on the floor, smoking away: “I’ll give her your love, Steve!” Priceless.

Carl Steward, “Timothy Carey: Noir’s Wildest Card,” Noir City Annual #2: The Best of the 2009 Noir City Sentinel (Film Noir Foundation, 2010)

Crime Wave

Pic of the Day: “Bloodhounds of Broadway” revisited

Ending the work week is another pic from Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952), directed by Harmon Jones. Tim doesn’t have a whole lot to do in the uncredited role of Crockett Pace, Mitzi Gaynor‘s hillbilly suitor, but it was one of his first speaking parts.

Also in uncredited parts here are Charles Bronson and Emile Meyer, both of whom would encounter Tim again in later films.