Sterling Hayden, who had made his name in another landmark heist film (1950’s The Asphalt Jungle) stars in this racetrack-heist tale that put 28-year-old director Stanley Kubrick on the map. Hayden is the proverbial veteran thief who plans just One Last Big Score before settling down and getting married. He puts together an ace team, and the robbery goes off (though not without some deadly complications).
But the aftermath is full of betrayals and backstabbings. Kubrick’s third film (and his first major Hollywood effort), it didn’t make a killing at the box office, but it made critics take note of the brash new talent. Seen today, the film still seems daring for its time-shifting narrative, told from multiple perspectives. Its influence is apparent on such films as Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino has acknowledged as much) and The Town (whose Fenway Park robbery echoes the stadium caper here).
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