The Asphalt Jungle

I found it frustrating to deal with the rain.  I went to the library for an hour and checked on what was playing at the Grand Lake Theatre.  Outside the Seven-Eleven, someone was taking a dump, a number two, right out in the open.  I had to shrug at the sight because it was no more disgusting than watching a Pasolini film.  I bought a beef burrito at Gordo Taqueria and shopped for groceries at Trader Joe’s.  I bought two CDs of Maria Callas and watched some television before going out to see “Rogue One” for the third time.  It was a shame that we won’t be seeing Carrie Fisher in any more movies.  I went home and finished watching John Huston’s “The Asphalt Jungle,” one of my favorite crime films.  I thought that Sterling Hayden was truly remarkable.  The whole sequence in which he was bleeding to death but wanting to go home was deeply haunting.  The woman helping him out was Jean Hagen, so different than she was in “Singin’ in the Rain.”  James Whitmore was feeding a cat, so I wouldn’t want him handling my food.  Marilyn Monroe fit right into this picture, even though she had only a small part.  Her career essentially went from 1950 to 1962.  I recognized Strother Martin, even though he looked very different from what he was in “Cool Hand Luke.”  I always thought about how Doc’s plan looked, but it was the other people in the caper who caused it all to go awry.  What good is a plan that can’t produce the money?  Doc had a fatal weakness, his attraction to young girls.  I wondered why he didn’t shave off his mustache and dye his hair.  He shouldn’t have left the taxi even.  What gets to me every time I see this movie is that Dix appears to be OK for a long time after he is shot, so you think that maybe he will pull through.  The movie shows you that crime doesn’t pay.  Being legit doesn’t pay, either, but at least the cops won’t throw you in jail.  Ben Maddow, the screenwriter, worked on “Johnny Guitar.”  He died in 1992 at age 83.  Jean Hagen went on to the television series “Make Room for Daddy,” and she was in “The Shaggy Dog” with Fred MacMurray.  She made appearances in episodes of Starsky and Hutch and The Streets of San Francisco in 1976.  She died of cancer in 1977.  Sterling Hayden died in 1986.   Two of John Huston’s early films, “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Asphalt Jungle,” were my favorites of his.  I’ll always think of him as one of the greatest movie directors ever.  He died in Rhode Island in 1987, but he is buried next to his mother in Hollywood.  The disc of the Criterion Collection edition of “The Asphalt Jungle” has some interesting special features.  If I ever get around to buying a copy, I’ll sit down on some weekend afternoon to watch them.  Some of the people who died on January 5 include Calvin Coolidge (1933), George Washington Carver (1943), Charles Mingus (1979), Hans Conried (1982), Pete Maravich (1988), Sonny Bono (1998), and Tug McGraw (2004).  Today is a birthday for Bradley Cooper (42), Diane Keaton (71), Hayao Miyazaki (76), and Robert Duvall (86).

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