Kansas City Confidential

Director: Phil Karlson
Year Released: 1952
Rating: 3.0

Rough and ready John Payne is not too fond of being framed for a bank robbery - when he was only trying to deliver packages - so he sets out after the actual culprits, who have fled to Mexico to avoid the police (and collect their money, being held by mastermind Preston Foster). It has all the elements of a classic noir: claustrophobic, tense and filled with seedy characters, including a supporting cast of thugs to die for (Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam and Neville Brand) ... and what it lacks in logic and clarity - Payne is apparently a Master Detective and has no trouble infiltrating the outlaw gang's whereabouts - it compensates for with sweating machismo. Coleen Gray as Virginal Innocence is a glimmer of reason amidst a lot of double-crossing and nicotine fumes.