reason number one (of more than 12,000) to hate poodles. what a fucking film. probably my favorite film noir of all-time. first things first. sterling hayden is absolutely brilliant. his performance here may be even better than his performance in dr. strangelove (which by the way has five of the best 25 comic performances of all-time peter sellers times three, sterling hayden and george c. scott). the direction is completely solid. the scenes between elisha cook and his on screen wife are a great example. when he is dictating the conversation the camera is on his side and when she twists things to his side the camera swings to her side, or they will change physical position within the frame. it’s just good film making. the score is well done (by gerald fried who also did paths of glory), especially the finale (top 25 ending of all time?). one of the more noteworthy aspects of the film is the way it played with time. the heist scene was approached from three different angles and kubrick would break the scene right at apex of the action from their viewpoint. for example, we follow timothy carey (more on him later), who is responsible for bringing down the horse, up to the point where he does his job. after his job is done the chronology rewinds and follows another person as they perform their pre-heist duties. the end effect is that we see the moments leading up the actual stealing of the money a few times…thus extending the suspense during the actual act. timothy carey (who is also in paths of glory) is one of those rare actors (like woody allen or steve buscemi) who is completely unique. i love the ending in the movie…it’s so thoroughly film noir. there’s one really cool shot that i wanted to mention. the camera is on the inside of an office and pointed towards a door. the door has a window on it and the lettering reads something like “chess and checkers club,” but the lettering isn’t reversed. i thought i had caught kubrick in a mistake here since the lettering is meant to be read from the outside and we’re looking at it from the inside. hayden opens the door from the outside, closes it and walks towards the camera. as he gets closer the camera pulls back and we see the the camera had been focusing on a mirror in the corner of the opening hallway. it allowed the audience to easily see what the lettering said, allowed for one static shot that showed the room we’re about to enter and also showed that hayden was coming in. efficient, technically sound, artistic and just plain cool film making.