Hollow Triumph (Sekely, 1948)

Hollow Triumph (Steve Sekely, 1948)

“People, they never notice. They’re all wrapped up in themselves.” Con man, John Muller, tells this to his gang as a reason they can get away with robbing the most crowded joint in the gambling underworld. Not only does this set up the opening heist scene, but also the theme for the entire film. While at times a little heavy-handed, overall it makes for an intriguing and strangely haunting second half, and Sekely paints an accurate portrait of human nature based on this idea. Additionally, from a cinematography standpoint, this film is brilliant. In the three movies I’ve seen photographed by John Alton, all have used light, shadow, and black & white contrast in ways no other cinematographer has been able to consistently match. Not only are the scenes beautiful to look at, but he is able to create tension, define tone, and make the setting a reality. One of the more impressive film noirs I’ve seen.  8.75/10

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