Led by an aging professional, a gang of thieves discover betrayal and death following a successful jewel heist.
The Asphalt Jungle was one of the most influential crime films of the 1950s and instigated the crime thriller subgenre of caper films.
Marilyn Monroe spent three days and nights working studiously with Natasha Lytess to prepare for the reading. For her audition, Marilyn asked Huston if she could recline on the floor as part of her interpretation of the character and he agreed. Not satisfied with her first reading, she asked to do it again, though Huston had already decided to give her the role.
Marilyn once said that The Ashphalt Jungle contained her finest dramatic performance and described director John Huston as a genius - the first I had ever met.
The film helped cement John Huston's already impressive reputation as a master writer and director. Huston understood that the most appropriate actors in an urban drama such as this were not necessarily those with box-office clout. Consequently, he bypassed major stars and drew instead on the talents of an eclectic group of actors each of whom brought a unique quality to this masterful production.
Georgia Holt, mother of Cher tested for the role of Angela Phinlay
The safe the gang robs has an electronic-eye-alarm along the wall which must be avoided or else the alarm would sound off. Everyone avoids this alarm in the scene except for Dix, who is clearly standing in its way when the gang converses whether they should stay to finish the job or leave prematurely.
When Doll was helping the wounded Dix into the doctor's office, the shadow of the camera is seen at it runs across her back.
The Asphalt Jungle is a study in crime, hard-hitting in its expose of the underworld. Ironic realism is striven for and achieved in the writing, production and direction. An audience will quite easily pull for the crooks in their execution of the million-dollar jewelry theft around which the plot is built. Reviewed by: Variety.
This film, derived by Ben Maddow and John Huston from Mr. Burnett's book and directed by Mr. Huston in brilliantly naturalistic style, gives such an electrifying picture of the whole vicious circle of a crime...that one finds it hard to tag the item of repulsive exhibition in itself. Yet that is our inevitable judgment of this film, now on the Capitol's screen...But, in that meager interest, we've got to hand it to the boys, particularly to Mr. Huston: they've done a terrific job! From the very first shot, in which the camera picks up a prowling thug, sliding along between buildings to avoid a police car in the gray and liquid dawn, there is ruthless authority in this picture, the hardness and clarity of steel, and remarkably subtle suggestion that conveys a whole involvement of distorted personality and inveterate crime. Reviewed by Bosley Crowther of The New York Times.