Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.
The soldier Nick Garcos returns back home from the war very happy, with gifts for his parents Yanko and Parthena Garcos and money in his pocket to open a business and marry his girlfriend Polly Faber. Out of the blue, Nick realizes that his father has lost both legs. Yanko, who was a truck driver, says that he was cheated by a dealer, Mike Figlia, in a San Francisco market when he delivered a truckload of tomatoes but was not paid. He believes that his accident was caused by Figlia's gangsters. Yanko also says that he then sold the truck to a driver named Ed Kinney who has not paid him. Nick meets Ed and says that he will take back the truck, but Ed proposes a deal with apples, where they may earn a great amount of money. Nick invests his savings in another truck and buys apples from a Polish farmer. They need to drive directly to the market in San Francisco without sleeping to keep the fruit fresh; but Ed's truck has problem with its axle, and Nick arrives first. Mike Figlia hires ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Beginning with his compelling "Brute Force" ('47)followed by the richly atmospheric "Naked City" ('48), Jules Dassin became the hottest dealer in Hollywood of the Film-Noir genre. "Thieves Highway" adds ethnic tensions to the Dassin stew of lost souls always living at the edge of danger. Richard Conte was at his peak here as the tough trucker, quick to throw a punch when he's threatened and equally capable of rolling with them if necessary. In Robert Siodmak's "Cry of the City," he's held in a headlock by a butch Hope Emerson; in this one, a jack gives way and a truck fender lands on his neck....ouch!
Conte, like Burt Lancaster, came from a streetwise background that, second only to a boxing ring, fitted him neatly as a glove when it came to movies like "Thieves Highway." Conte was so good in this, he was selected to repeat the role on TV six years later under the title "Overnight Haul" on the old 20th Century-Fox Hour.
As for Dassin, he had yet a fourth fling at the genre the following year with the claustrophobic thriller, "Night and the City." A film worth commenting on later. As for "Thieves Highway," having seen it, you may want to follow it up with Clouzot"s "Wages of Fear," made three years later and the ultimate truckers' movie. As a boy I was privileged to have seen all four Dassin movies during their original releases. How thrilling to see "Thieves Highway" and "Night and the City" now out on DVD!
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