Film Noir

Kansas City Confidential (1952)

Director: Phil Karlson
Actors: John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster, Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef
Runtime: 99 min.

When a gang of criminals steals millions of dollars from an armored car, an ex-GI finds himself framed for robbery. He's released after being subjected to police brutality, then he begins to seek out who framed him and why. He eventually ends up in Mexico where he uncovers a web of crime and corruption.

Trivia: Kansas City is the first and considered the best of a number of "Confidential" films made during the mid-fifties. At the same time, TV mega-hit "Dragnet" was professionalizing law enforcement's image nationwide. Here, however, we get quite a different picture that certainly goes beyond the norm of the day. In fact, director Karlson, like noir filmmaker Anthony Mann, built a reputation for emphasizing the raw nature of thuggish violence, at least as much as the censors would allow. This is certainly one of the more graphically brutal films of the era.