Shadow Play: Asphalt Jungle

In our last class, we spoke about the Noir City, and how it plays a part in Film Noir. Our film for the week was Asphalt Jungle. A perfect film for the subject. A major theme of Noir films is the lack of a home. A main character usually strolls into the main setting, sometimes only to ultimately leave again. This ‘homelessness’ leaves the character with only their actions as their base.

In Asphalt Jungle, the city is definitely a character. When the movie begins, we watch a man duck behind a pillar in order to not be seen by a passing patrol car. The background is constantly used in the story. Another example of this is the storefront  run by the character, Cubby. It is a well-known betting spot that all the characters are aware of for one reason or another. In one scene Cubby pays off a police lieutenant to keep it going. In another scene the robbers discuss the upcoming heist here. As the film reaches its climax, Cubby is told to close the place down. He refuses. Believing he has the upper hand, he blackmails the lieutenant, telling him that he’ll tell the commissioner all about their deal. The lieutenant grabs him and smacks him around the  room, turning the tide against Cubby who is now ready to confess.


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