Dave Burke (Ed Begley), an ex-police officer, is looking to hire two men to assist him in a bank raid; Earle Slater (Robert Ryan), a white ex-convict, and Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte), a black gambler. Both are reluctant, but they eventually accept. However, Slater loathes and despises blacks, and the tensions in the gang rapidly mount in this taut film-noir thriller directed by Robert Wise, whose next film would be West Side Story.  Produced by Harry Belafonte’s production company, the film features a screenplay largely by Abe Polonsky, who did not receive credit as he was blacklisted at the time.  To achieve a specific “look” in certain scenes, Wise used infra-red film for the first time in his career. As he noted, it “gives that wonderful quality–black skies with white clouds–and it changes the feeling and look of the scenes.”  The strong supporting cast includes Gloria Grahame and Shelley Winters. 35mm print courtesy of Park Circus

Special guests: David Belafonte, son of actor/producer Harry Belafonte, and film historian and RiverRun Advisory Board Member Foster Hirsch, author of Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen

Sponsored by Susan Von Cannon & Franklyn Millman