Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The idiot should have learned from Double Indemnity

Back in August, 2008, I briefly mentioned the movie Pushover. It's finally back on the TCM schedule, very early tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM ET. (Or, I suppose, it's in the middle of the night overnight for those of you in more westerly time zones.)

Fred MacMurray plays Paul Sheridan, whom we see at the start of the movie helping gorgeous Lona McLane (Kim Novak in one of her earliest performances) when she has car problems. We quickly learn that Sheridan is a police detective, and that he deliberately sabotaged Lona's car: she's the moll of a bank robber, and he's trying to get to the bank robber through her.

You fool!In theory, this is supposed to lead to him and his partner. But Lona's got better ideas. She quickly realizes that Paul is a copper, and that this might be a way out of her predicament. Perhaps the two of them can double-cross her boyfriend, and run off with the very large amount of money. You'd think that Fred MacMurray would have learned from Double Indemnity ten years earlier that double crossing the authorities and hooking up with a hot blonde to do it can lead to no good end. Besides, he should have known the Production Code would never let him get away with it. Still, we wouldn't have a movie had he learned from his mistakes, so he goes along, and he and his partner stake out her apartment trying to get the bad guy, while he's really trying to get to a time when the two can make their escape unseen....

Pushover is in many ways a formulaic part of the film noir genre, and having been made years after the great orginial movies of the genre, you'd think it's a lesser movie. To be honest, I don't think Columbia, the studio that produced this movie, gave it quite the treatment they would give more prestigious films from the era. But none of that should be taken to imply the movie isn't good. Even though we know exactly where it's going, the ride is still enjoyable. And as with a movie like Juggernaut, part of the fun is seeing what ingenious device the writers will come up with to get the evil plot to fail.

When I mentioned Pushover back in 2008, I said I was disappointed that it hadn't gotten a DVD relase. Since then, it has, as part of a box set of Columbia noirs. That set also includes Nightfall, another movie I blogged about ages ago that at the time hadn't gotten a DVD release. I see the set also has City of Fear, which I should perhaps blog about some time.

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