I am velvety-smoothReview is BELOWI am veltely smooth, too
DVD: Criminal, The / The Concrete Jungle (1960)
Review Rating:   Standard  
...back to Index
Anchor Bay 
Catalog #:
...or start from scratch
1 (NTSC)

December 3, 2002



Genre: Crime  
Just out of prison, Johnny Bannion takes a tip from his cellmate and participates in a smooth racetrack heist, but finds his pals turn on him when the police get closer.  



Directed by:

Joseph Losey
Screenplay by: Alun Owen,  Jimmy Sangster
Music by: Johnny Dankworth
Produced by: Jack Greenwood

Stanley Baker,  Sam Wanamaker,  Gregoire Aslan,  Margit Saad,  Jill Bennett,  Rupert Davies,  Laurence Naismith,  John Van Eyssen,  Noel Willman,  Derek Francis,  Redmond Phillips,  Patrick Magee

Film Length: 96 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.66 :1
Black & White
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   English (Mono)
Special Features :  

Inlay card with poster art / 2 Casy & Crew Bios / Theatrical trailer for "The Criminal" (2:58) Widescreen (1.66:1) Anamorphic

Comments :

Note: contrary to the 92 minute running time stated on the rear sleeve, Anchor Bay's print is the original British version, which clocks in at 96 minutes in this NTSC transfer. A shorter version, titled "The Concrete Jungle," was released in the U.S. at 86 minutes.

Directed with panache by blacklisted American Joseph Losey, the film was also one of four projects with suave lead actor Stanley Baker, who had appeared in Losey's 1958 drama "Blind Date," later in "Eve" (1962), and "Accident" (1967). Originally approached by Hammer to star in another film (after "Hell Is A City"), Baker agreed to appear in the film if Losey was attached. Losey in turn hired Alun Owen, a lesser-known writer who had written several teleplays directed by Ted Kotcheff, for a major re-write, which resulted in a script rich in diverse dialects and native slang, and Baker's character modeled after the legendary and flamboyant underworld figure Albert Dimes, who acted as an advisor during production.

Blending stark locations with a superb prison set (copied to exacting detail after England's Victorian prisons), Losey's fluid camera nevertheless captured a plethora of character nuances which make this taut suspense/drama far superior to the average prison films which were more common as drive-in, B-level fodder.

Anchor Bay's transfer is made from a crisp black & white print, with a rich array of grey levels that are faithful to veteran Robert Krasker's cinematography. The audio mix is straightforward mono, but Losey gave his soundtracks just as much attention as his visuals, and uses an interesting blend of prison sounds, dramatic silence, and conforms key montages to suit John Dankworth's jazz-styled score. The film's final shot punctuates the Bannion's nihilistic existence with a mournful ballad sung by Cleo Laine.

The lengthy British trailer covers a lot of ground, so save it till after the film to avoid any spoilers.

Detailed Talent Bios, using generous quotations, cover director Losey, and star Baker - an actor who made several excellent crime/caper films in his career, with "Hell Is A City" (1959), "A Prize Of Arms" (1962), and Peter Yates' "Robbery" (1967).


© 2002 Mark R. Hasan

_IMDB Entry________Script Online _________Joseph Losey site________Cast/Crew Link
_IMDB Detailed Entry_______Scripts available online ________Fan/Official Film Site__________Additional Related Sites
____Amazon.com __________Amazon.ca _________Bay Street Video_______Comparisons_
__Amazon.com info____Amazon.com info____Basy Street Video info______Compare Different Region releases_
_Soundtrack CD / LP_______CD Review__________LP Review__________Composer Filmog.
Soundtrack Album__________Soundtrack Review_______Yes, VINYL_________Composer Filmography/Discography at Soundtrack Collector.com

Site designed for 1024 x 768 resolution, using 16M colours, and optimized for MS Explorer 6.0. KQEK Logo and All Original KQEK Art, Interviews, Profiles, and Reviews Copyright © 2001-Present by Mark R. Hasan. All Rights Reserved. Additional Review Content by Contributors 2001-Present used by Permission of Authors. Additional Art Copyrighted by Respective Owners. Reproduction of any Original KQEK Content Requires Written Permission from Copyright Holder and/or Author. Links to non-KQEK sites have been included for your convenience; KQEK is not responsible for their content nor their possible use of any pop-ups, cookies, or information gathering.