Burt Lancaster plays Steve Thompson, a man who seals his dark fate when he returns to Los Angeles to find his ex-wife Anna Dundee (Yvonne DeCarlo) eager to rekindle their love against all better judgement. She encourages their affair but then quickly marries mobster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). To deflect suspicion of the affair, Steve Thompson leads Dundee into a daylight armored-truck robbery.
User Reviews: from filmnoiroftheweekrnrnI always find the music in film noir interesting. Unlike self-conscious noirs like Farewell, My Lovely and Body Heat, most noir soundtracks are orchestral not jazz. The slow wailing saxophone over a Robert Mitchum voice-over can be found in noir parodies like the Guy Noir segments of A Prairie Home Companion. Strangely enough, that kind of music track is never actually heard in classic film noir. With some exceptions (Odds Against Tomorrow, for example) jazz and other forms of popular American music is usually heard only when it’s performed on screen and not in the background or over opening credits.rnrnMusic performed on screen in noir can be put into two categories. First, there’s the tunes belted out by sexy femme fatales in glamorous night clubs. Often the songs, by the likes of Rita Hayworth and Liz Scott, are upbeat and don’t have much to do with the film except that they reinforce the fact that the woman are sexy the Jessica Rabbit effect. Then there’s music played by bands in seedy night clubs and bars that are integrated into the context of the film. Instead of being somber and slow the music from the second category is pounding and disorientating totally fitting the mood of the film. Watch D.O.A. for an example. The most effective music in the film (right behind the bombastic but wonderful score by Dimitri Tiomkin) is a performance in a San Francisco jazz club by the band the Fisherman an all-black group that jams with so much force it’s exhausting to watch. Edmund O’Brien –after following partiers from his hotel to the club- is so annoyed by the music (and from a jealous husband’s evil eye) it causes him to leave his fellow drinkers and hit the bar alone. That opens up a golden opportunity for villains to then slip him a glow-in-the-dark Mickey Finn.rnrnrnrnrnWhen Kansas goes undercover in Phantom Lady she’s eventually lead to a creepy drummer in a night club show. The music at the show is typical of a 1940s film. The Carmen-Miranda riff is stagy and bland. Things get better though. After the show drummer Cliff leads Kansas to a seedy jazz club to hear some real music. The scene that follows is both sexy and even a bit grotesque. The drum beats build like a sexual climax as “hep kitten” Kansas watches a sweaty Elisha Cook Jr. go all out on the drums. Director Robert Siodmak’s use of the music makes it clear that Kansas is putting herself in real danger. An assault or some sort of violence is almost expected later in the night after witnessing Cliff’s drum solo.rnrnrnrnSiodmak’s best use of music, however, was in 1949’s Criss Cross when Steve and Anna reunite. More on that scene in a minute.rnrnCriss Cross begins with a long aerial shot of Los Angeles over the chief composer of film noir Miklós Rózsa’s noir score. The camera finally stops and focuses on two lovers in a parking lot startled after being caught in an embrace by passing headlights. Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) and his ex-wife Anna Dundee (Yvonne De Carlo) are planning to double cross her husband Gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea) after a planned armored car heist the next day.rnrn(About the casting: I feel Lancaster’s performance as Steve