The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond | Chicago Reader

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond

Budd Boetticher directed this riveting B in 1960, using intentionally overcontrasted images (lit by Lucien Ballard, with the expressive badness that comes from exquisite skill) and shoddy cardboard sets that look like leftovers from The Untouchables (and may well have been). The combination results in a kind of newesreel surrealism, perfectly suited to the sordid mythology Boetticher is exploring and exploding. The film is action packed, though Boetticher's real interest seems to lie in Diamond's instinctively evolved philosophy of self-containment—he's a neurotic, malignant extension of the surly loner heroes of Boetticher's Randolph Scott westerns of the 50s. With Ray Danton and Karen Steele. 101 min.

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