Kansas City Confidential

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Main Plot Points:

  • Brace yourself for a decidedly noir tale of “solid suspense” (Variety)! This gritty and “fast-aced” (L.A. Examiner) actioner about a perfectly innocent man framed for a perfectly devious crime delivers intense chills and pulse-pounding excitement to the bitter end!
  • With three thugs as accomplices, Tim Foster (Preston Foster), a disgruntled ex-cop, masterminds a foolproof million dollar bank robbery. But he’s also hatched a scheme to double-cross his accomplices and frame an innocent for the crime!
  • Joe Rolfe (John Payne) is the hapless truck driver caught in Foster’s corrupt plan. In order to set things right, Rolfe tries to clear his own name and seek vengeance on the crooks, all while falling in love… with Foster’s daughter (Coleen Gray)!

What We Thought:

  • Film Noir is certainly my favorite American genre, so to speak, considering that it is less a genre than an after-the-fact term applied to American film made during a particular period and in a certain style by French critics. But however one defines film noir, it is the genre to which Kansas City Confidential belongs.
  • This is certainly a later period noir (being made in 1952) and has many of the standards of great film noir including excellent villains and a wrongly accused man, but unfortunately we do not get a femme fatale, just a femme.
  • In only his third feature film, Lee Van Cleef embodies the badass persona that he would forever be connected to as he plays the rough romancer Tony Romano. Van Cleef ,with his tall wiry frame and beady eyes, is the personification of menacing.
  • The film’s plot is equally menacing since it seems to be fairly practical up until the end when things spiral out of control. But one of the most stand-out aspects of the film is the moral meter in place as the bad guys eventually get separated into “bad” bad guys and lesser evils. I won’t ruin the surprise by telling you who shockingly gets designated the lesser evil in the film.
  • With the film being released on Blu-ray, what we get is a crisp transfer in the film’s original aspect ration, which when concerning older films of this quality, tends to be all I really care about.
  • Film noir fans as well as fans of the bank heist sub-genre will definitely enjoy Kansas City Confidential.

Review by Matthew Orlando, Contributing Writer