Just watched the DVD--Gazzara is SO sexy! (SPOILER)
I think Ben Gazzara is a tremendous actor. When I went to my video rental place and saw this on display I was surprised I'd never heard of it. His first film and he totally ruled the screen. His character was totally unsympathetic and a real sociopath but the way he played Jocko was so compelling. He wasn't classically good-looking but really had something. I loved the scene with "Rosebud" in the cafe--he's like the bad boy one doesn't really want to like but can't help being drawn to.
It was interesting how "Cockroach" seemed so goofy when following Jocko around, but then when he was alone with him and revealed that he was a witness, this other side came out and it was obvious the attraction he felt for Jocko. And like someone else noted, Jocko didn't seem to mind. Perrin suddenly turned into this rather sexually aggressive predator almost (under the surface of course, because of the restrictions then). It was quite a contrast to Perrin's previous behavior and the scene really stood out--it must have been one cut from the theater version.
Of course Jocko was so brutal and I wanted him to get his just desserts. I found the ending very satisfying--I understand the theater version was different and took place in a courtroom.
On the DVD it was such a treat to see Ben Gazzara's short discussion of the film. For whatever reason the director treated the producer with disrespect during filming then he--Sam Spiegel--who produced many huge films did no promoting of the film at all after it was wrapped, according to Gazzara. This probably accounts for it not being more known, unfortunately.