Loophole and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Granite-faced Charles McGraw is back for more, this time as an obsessed insurance investigator in LOOPHOLE.

When nearly fifty Gs go missing during a routine audit, bank teller Sullivan is falsely accused of masterminding the brazen heist. He struggles to find the real perp and prove his innocence, all the while being hounded and stalked by tenacious pit-bull investigator McGraw. McGraw owns this picture, though Mary Beth Hughes is also fantastic as the steely femme fatale behind the real bank robber, a middle-aged teller who was able to pass himself off as one of the bank examiners to make off with the dough. I really would have loved to see a scene between McGraw and Hughes, maybe something along the lines of the “dollar sign for a heart” scene with Sterling Hayden and Marie Windsor in THE KILLING. The abrupt, brickwall everything’s-all-better-now ending was the only wrong note in an otherwise great B thriller packed with historic Los Angeles locations and street scenes. Loved it.

But as much as I enjoyed LOOPHOLE, KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE  may be my favorite so far this year.

Seems strange for a Film Noir festival, but so far this year we’ve only had two outright down endings out of a dozen flicks. First one was BRUTE FORCE and last night we finally got another. You know, the everybody’s fucked kind of ending that us Noir junkies crave. I’m not giving anything away by saying that, because the film starts off with Cagney dead and all his accomplices on trial. Then we flash back to a violent jail break that features luscious Barbara Payton in male drag (!!!) and the plot doesn’t take its foot off the gas for 102 minutes. There’s a brutal supermarket heist, crooked cops, a snake-oil spiritualist, a shyster lawyer, a millionaire’s horny, thrill-seeking daughter and Cagney at his cheerfully sadistic best. Ward Bond and Barton MacLane, who also played cops in THE MALTESE FALCON are sensational as the corrupt inspectors who try to shake Cagney down and wind up getting shaken down themselves. Both blatantly sexy and brutally violent, this movie was a knockout from start to finish. Hunt this one down any way you can. You won’t be sorry.

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