Trying To Get Real In “The Big Steal” (The Films Of Don Siegel #1)

Robert Mitchum pursues a fellow serviceman who stole a lot of Army funds lest he himself be arrested for the crime in Don Siegel’s The Big Steal (1949).

Director Siegel generally pushed for as much plain realism as he could get in his studio-system entertainments, which accounts for the stark aggression and use of very little music in Steal.  It’s a palatable chase movie, albeit not without improbabilities (Mitchum goes to the trouble of driving numerous sheep into the road in order to block the car of a man who’s tailing him, the Jane Greer character [Joan by name] fails to keep her crook of a fiance from snatching away her pistol).

All the same, the script is likable, the action fun, the ending a charmer.  And, as in many other Siegel movies, the casting is beyond satisfactory.  Siegel made man-pleasing movies which are also meant to please women, as witness Greer’s strong, feminine Joan.


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