This is basically the thesis of the 1950's: no matter how smart a group of men are, nor how diligently they plan a caper -- be it a robbery, a murder, or the fastest way to drive from supermarket to bowling alley -- all it takes to mess them up, to make them lick their butts like injured hounds, is one greedy, scheming dame.
Given this description of the status of male/female relations during this time period, especially amongst those in the criminal professions, it's reasonable to assume that ex-con Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) should have been aware that any woman within sniffing distance of the men who were helping him with his racetrack robbery would be trouble. He need only have looked at the rather unbalanced pairing of Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor) and George Peatty (Elisha Cook) to know that Sherry wasn't in it for the good sex and the wild parties.
In fact, when George stands on his tippy toes, he's barely able to rest his head on the top of Sherry's breasts. Needless to say, George is whipped as whipped can be. During times off camera, it's likely that George serves as some sort of end table as Sherry rests her drinks on his flat head. Anyway, Johnny probably should have done some surveys on his crew, or at least visited their homes. Somebody is always the Achilles' heel, and Johnny should have known this.
Stanley Kubrick's film comes to a rather abrupt end. After lots of careful planning, Johnny makes it to the airport only to part with his money in a rather anticlimactic way. A man and his money are easily parted, you say? Well, it's sort of like having the main character be accidentally hit by a bus. This film could have made that very simple point in the first five minutes and saved me a whole lot of popcorn money.
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