Each week we’re recommending a movie from every film lover’s favorite home video company, Criterion. The Criterion Collection is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions of the highest technical quality with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film. This week, The Asphalt Jungle.
In a smog-choked city somewhere in the American Midwest, an aging criminal mastermind, newly released from prison, hatches a plan for a million-dollar jewel heist and draws a wealthy lawyer and a cherry-picked trio of outlaws into his carefully devised but inevitably doomed scheme. Anchored by an abundance of nuanced performances from a gifted ensemble—including a tight-jawed Sterling Hayden and a sultry Marilyn Monroe in her breakout role—this gritty crime classic by John Huston climaxes in a meticulously detailed anatomy of a robbery that has reverberated through the genre ever since. An uncommonly naturalistic view of a seamy underworld, The Asphalt Jungle painstakingly depicts the calm professionalism and toughness of its gangster heroes while evincing a remarkable depth of compassion for their all-too-human fragility, and it showcases a master filmmaker at the height of his powers.
- 112 minutes
- Black & White
- Spine #847
- 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary from 2004 by film historian Drew Casper, featuring archival recordings of actor James Whitmore
- Pharos of Chaos, a 1983 documentary about actor Sterling Hayden
- New interviews with film noir historian Eddie Muller and cinematographer John Bailey
- Archival footage of writer-director John Huston discussing the film
- Episode of the television program City Lights from 1979 featuring Huston
- Audio excerpts of archival interviews with Huston
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing