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Summer Of Movies: Youtube Noir July 7, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies.
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If you’re a B-movie fan like me, youtube is a wonderful thing. Tons of old obscure movies reside there – many of ’em in the public domain, many more in what I like to refer to as “copyright defensive indifference,” since whatever level of piracy exists in their free access is something no obscure rights holder knows and/or cares about.

This summer, I’ve binged on two categories of films you can’t really find anywhere else – minor noirs too obscure for TCM and the like, and old 1970s era TV movies of the week, which I’ll review in some upcoming posts.

Let’s start with some noir, ranging from the very good to the, well, merely okay.

Pushover (1954) features Fred MacMurray as a cop assigned to woo gangster moll Kim Novak (in her film debut), enough to find out where her bank robbin’ boyfriend and the stolen money is. Borrowing a lot from Double Indemnity, MacMurray plays a guy bored & stuck in his own life, this time a cop and not an insurance salesman. While he and his partners set up a peeping tom stakeout of Novak’s apartment, MacMurray plots with Novak to trap her gangster boyfriend and run off with the money themselves. Philip Carey plays his bachelor-for-life partner who then peeps on neighbor Dorothy Malone, back in her brunette good girl days, and his subsequent flirting with her drives other elements of the plot. This one wasn’t bad – if not for MacMurray’s casting, I doubt I’d’ve made the Double Indemnity comparisons. He always plays a good sullen weasel, and Novak makes a good femme fatale. Usually in any sort of plot-counterplot crime or caper films, the degree of believability  in either the plan or the way in which the plan inevitably collapses is key to the success of the film. In something like Kubrick’s The Killing, the mechanics of the plan make up the entire film, and it’s all undone by the wrong choice of a cheap suitcase. The Killing still works despite the character making that mistake – unlike what happens in Plunder Road or The Chase, which I’ll discuss later. In Pushover, the unraveling of MacMurray’s game is handled very well, without any feelings of movies that are forced simply to wrap up the plot. So, this one is pretty good. (more…)

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