Criss Cross

Criss Cross

Criss Cross

Directed by Robert Soidmak

 “All woman are bitches,” I said. She smiled at me. Her eyes were deep and black. “All woman are cheats and liars and bitches,” I told her.
“I’m not,” she said. “I’m a whore.”
“You’re different,” I said. “I mean real women.”

Criss Cross, 1934 by Don Tracy


Don Tracy’s double-crossing armed robbery caper about a down on his luck, love-struck, ex-boxer and his trampy ex-wife gets the “Hollywood” treatment by Soidmak in 1949’s Criss Cross.

This time the honey is Yvonne DeCarlo, aka Mrs. Lily Munster. Anne in Criss Cross was DeCarlo’s big chance to be taken seriously as an actress after years of bit parts, and turns as exotic eye candy (Salome, 1945). You get the feeling that everyone one really tried their best to make the former Florentine Gardens teen “dancer”  look good. Her lines are good. Her costumes are swishy and sparkly. Co-star Burt was feeling her up and feeding her lines on screen and off.  And, of course, the camera man made her look fantastico! The Jungle Fantasy by Esy Morales dance sequence is quite a love tribute. But….. Barbara Stanwyck she ain’t.  All her “big” scenes come off as……satisfactory.

DeCarlo and Duryea: Sparkle and Snarl

Lover-boy Burt fares better. Never one of my faves, Burt Lancaster and Chuck Heston seem to have attended the same suck in my gut and turn to the light acting school. Distracting. Hard to preen and look down-trodden and at the same time. But he does kind of look lovesickish and gullible.

Nevertheless, when the long-long-anticipated double-crosses arrive. Surprise! Yes! Cynical old me was surprised. And that is pretty hard to do. And the surprises keep arriving with such efficiency, that you are really taken quite off guard. Later, you might say, “hey, wait a minute……..”

Special kudos to one of one new faves: Dan Duryea. His turn as a jealous controlling murderous crook, really made the main co-stars look like amateurs in this flick. Toss off some extra snaps to the rest of the supporting cast and the glorious photographer. The print on You-tube is really quite nice considering what is usually available and I highly recommend it if you have not seen it.






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