Rockstar Recommends: “Crime Wave” aka “The City Is Dark”

Posted on May 2 2011, 4:04pm | Author: R* Q | Filed Under: Games, Rockstar

Crime Wave (1954; Andre De Toth)



“Pretty isn’t she?
Third largest city in the country.
She’s quite a lady...
Kind of peaceful too in the warm, friendly light of day.
But when the light goes down and the city is dark, its back streets and brooding alleys become a jungle and its denizens stretch out their claws of violence from the shadows.”


The lady of which the narrator speaks in the trailer above is, you guessed it, none other than Los Angeles (by now of course the 2nd largest city in the country).
Summed up eloquently here, and grittily depicted from frame to frame in this film noir classic with all the trimmings to get you primed for L.A. Noire. Quite apropos, the LA-set “Crime Wave” was also titled and alternatively released under the name “The City Is Dark”.

Released by Warner Brothers in 1954, a studio that helped define the crime and gangster genres going way back to Cagney in the 30’s, “Crime Wave” tells the tale of Steve Lacey (played by Gene Nelson) the archetypal bad guy gone good who can’t escape his past – a reformed ex-con now on the straight and narrow with a plum job, a lovely wife, and a sympathetic parole officer. When a trio of hardened criminals bust out of the joint, old prison-mates of Lacey’s (“alumni” of his “alma mater”), they track him down, disrupting his honest life, and turn the screws to coerce him into joining them on one last job. Strong-arming Lacey by threatening his wife, he’s forced to help them against his will as a getaway man on a big score to heist a local LA bank before the fugitives skip town for good. Of course, things don’t quite go according to plan…

Look out for a phenomenal film noir cast in this one including:

  • Ted de Corsia as the gang’s ringleader – an actor you may recognize from his appearance as ex-wrestler Willie Garzah in our previous recommendation “The Naked City”
  • A young Charles Bronson (who then was going by his given name, Charles Buchinsky) in a great early role as one of the vicious escaped convicts
  • Film legend Sterling Hayden as the relentless LAPD lieutenant detective on the case who hounds Lacey and the cons all the way to the breaking point
  • And swarthy character actor Jay Novello with a career spanning four decades worth of film and television, playing a role you don’t typically see - a crooked drunkard stoolie veterinarian


Previous Rockstar Recommends:

True Crime Detective Magazines (Taschen)
Rare California-Set Films of the 13th Annual Los Angeles Festival of Film Noir
“The Naked City” | “He Walked by Night” | “Chinatown” | “Scarlet Street” | “Detour”

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  • R* Yon May 5 2011, 12:24pmReplyFlag
    @SmileCannon It helps to remember these aren’t missions, but self-contained cases. As soon as a case is closed and you have been graded on your performance, you’ll be assigned a new case, which will begin immediately. Keep in mind that during the game you are also free to drive, walk or run anywhere in the world at all times.
    • OlegLibertyon May 5 2011, 5:34amReplyFlag
      Rockstars, i have a question. I just start watching "Crime Wave", and i see bike, so in L.A. Noire we can ride bikes?
      Thanks, cant wait for 17 May.
      • SmileCannonon May 4 2011, 1:31pmReplyFlag
        @R*
        So when the mission ends. Does the next mission start immediately?
        • Noir1948on May 3 2011, 8:33pmReplyFlag
          Thank you very much for answering my questions. Just can't wait for this amazing game anymore! Keep it up R*!
          • R* Yon May 3 2011, 3:36pmReplyFlag
            @Noir1948 in response to your questions:

            1. L.A. Noire is designed very differently from our other, more open-world focused games like Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto. While the world itself is fully open to explore, the focus is on working the crime scene locations and cases in order to work your way up the ranks. Occasionally while on a case, you will hear street crimes or “unassigned cases” come in over the radio, offering you a chance to assist in a nearby bank robbery or purse snatching.

            2. As for harming civilians, while it is possible on occasion to hurt an innocent citizen, it’s not something a good detective is rewarded for-- running over a pedestrian while on a case or causing public damage or harm will lower your end-of-case rating.

            3. Detectives are plain-clothes officers who’ve earned the right to ditch the uniform. By the time Cole has reached the rank of detective, the former war hero and patrolman has had his fair share of wearing uniforms. He’s happy to be in a proper suit and hat!
            • SmileCannonon May 3 2011, 12:13pmReplyFlag
              @R*
              Are you going to release the full cover of the l.a. noire box, i mean the backside and the disc, and does the cover include the map as in every rockstar game (:
              • JohnyCraneon May 3 2011, 8:57amReplyFlag
                R* you will participate at E3?
                • LiL.A.Kingon May 3 2011, 7:56amReplyFlag
                  R* IS THE BEST!! R* you make the best games!!
                  • PowercomBADAZZon May 3 2011, 7:48amReplyFlag
                    Hello Rockstargames developers,

                    I just want to ask a general question about this game.

                    What do you think, WHY should we buy this game over other games that are being released this month?
                    This may sound dumb, but do you think your game is a must-have title in 2011 especially for xbox 360 users.
                    What makes this game so special?

                    THANK YOU VERY MUCH IN ADVANCE
                    • Noir1948on May 3 2011, 4:20amReplyFlag
                      Hey R*. I love everything you guys have done with L.A. Noire so far. The different crime desks. The off story missions like bag snatchers, suicide jumpers and bank robbers. But i just have three questions.

                      1:Will there be "Strangers" all over L.A.?

                      2:Can we harm civilians? What will be the consequences? Will it effect our overall score at the end of each case?

                      3:Will we be able to wear our Police uniform even after we have been promoted to a detective?

                      Thank you guys so much! I can't wait for May 17!
                      • R* Yon May 2 2011, 7:46pmReplyFlag
                        @achiugamer31 Nice, good to hear you're so into the genre.

                        @Grand_Theft_Auto @deformed_smurf Cheers guys.
                        • achiugamer31on May 2 2011, 6:50pmReplyFlag
                          What a strange connection; after hearing about L.A. Noire in February, I went and watched "L.A. Confidential". The DVD extras on the disc had the writers citing "Crime Wave" as a thematic source used for L.A. Conf. So, I went and watched Crime Wave as well. Now that's the movie's mentioned on "Rockstar Recommends" I guess things have gone full-circle. :P Glad you brought this movie up; it's definitely one of the best film noirs, and having Hayden in it takes the cake too!!!
                          • deformed_smurfon May 2 2011, 6:35pmReplyFlag
                            ooooooh im going to see if its on netflix, CANT WAIT TILL THE GAME AHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!
                            • Grand_Theft_Autoon May 2 2011, 4:47pmReplyFlag
                              Sterling Hayden is such a great actor. I'll be sure to check this film out. Thanks for the tip R*, you're the best!
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