I’m a fan of Richard Siodmak noirs, particularly The Killers (1946) and Criss Cross (1949), and recently I was talking about the dance scene from Criss Cross at the Round-Up club, which for me is one of the most compelling scenes from just about any noir I can recall. I mean where else can you hear someone rocking out on the flute so hard?
The scene features the orchestra of Puerto Rican musician Esy Morales performing “Jungle Fantasy,” and it captures a spirit of LA—whether it as real or not makes no difference—that makes me nostalgic for a moment in that city’s history I never experienced. And Yvonne De Carlo (who hails from the venerable Vancouver, BC) is stunning in her coy play with the tortured voyeur Burt Lancaster as she’s floating to the Rhumba. In fact, I would argue De Carlo even rivals the great Ava Gardner’s role as Kitty in Siodomak’s The Killers (1946). What a magical scene!
Some trivia that may be of interest is that Tony Curtis is the cat dancing with DeCarlo in this scene, and this just so happens to be his first bit part in a film which goes uncredited—who knew that in less than 10 years he would become an icon with his role in Sweet Smell of Success (1957).