Across The Bridge
Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Film: B
Rod Steiger was one of the greatest actors of his or any
generation and one of his most outstanding roles came with Ken Annakin’s
identity-swap thriller Across The Bridge (1957), which happened to be
made in Britain. In several stories
about robbing money and leaving the country, like the twice-filmed Walter
Hill-penned The Getaway (based on Jim Thompson’s book), they are heading
to Mexico. The question of what would
happen after they ran out of money and who would protect them is never
Here, Steiger decides he can get away by stealing a ton of
company money, and intends to steal another man’s identity to help him
succeed. He is sick of the grind of
big business and has talents beyond stealing and helping others make money at
his expense. He also happens to be able
to assimilate into situations well and is prepared to do his best to
impersonate a man so he cannot be tracked down. This is decades before computers made a new wave of
techno-identity theft a new wave of crime.
However, he has to kill the man to pull it off. So much for the good old days.
This is based on a Graham Greene novel, as adapted by Guy
Elmes and Denis Freeman, the film is constantly filled with moments of suspense
and is strongly plausible throughout.
Both the material and Steiger’s nuanced performance excel throughout,
making this a still very intense, smart and exciting thriller nearly a
half-century later. And yes, that is
Bernard Lee form the James Bond films.
This film belongs on the shelf next to Hitchcock’s best and has been in
hibernation for far too long.
The 1.33 X 1 image is listed as “Wide Screen” on the back
of the box, but this is block style all the way, offering great camerawork by
cinematographer Reginald Wyer, B.S.C. that is more and more involving. I wish the transfer was even a bit clearer,
but this will do until we see a High Definition version down the line. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad either
considering the film’s age. James
Bernard composed the music, while the great John Hollingsworth served as
musical director. They know when to add
music and when to let silence create tension, something lost on a vast majority
of the filmmakers, composers and editors today. There is a solid Making Of feature where Annakin discusses
how the film came together and how it is some of the best work he ever
did. It is the kind of behind the
scenes backstory that makes one appreciate how good a film can be. Across The Bridge is an unrecognized
classic that just gets better with age.
- Nicholas Sheffo