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Author Topic: Pushover (1954)  (Read 5592 times)
Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2017, 08:04:30 PM »

I have a real soft spot for this movie. Pushover is B, maybe only C, movie greatness. But greatness, minor greatness, it is nevertheless, even in its unoriginality.

Pushover is an underrated almost unknown little Noir which seems to be constantly unfavorably compared to Double Indemnity. Yes, itís a knockoff, yes, both the story and the characters are derivative, but then again there really wasn't much new in the Noir universe anymore by 1954. Itís another dirty-cop Noir which were becoming so popular in the 50s. Themes and plots had been recycled a lot. But Pushover is a solid bit of film making and it should be judged on its own merits because it makes the best out of a by then well-known formula.

The movie feels incredibly claustrophobic and the photography is wonderful and pure Noir. Chiaroscuro lighting, rain-soaked streets, shadows, a suffocating setting in an apartment complex...the movie has the look of the genre down.

The film is notable for Kim Novak's film debut and it is a good one. She seems to be a natural at playing the classic femme fatale who has some sucker fall for her within minutes of their meeting.
She plays a bank robber's moll who corrupts the cop on her trail, world-weary Fred MacMurray, in Walter Neff mode again, in no time. It seems though MacMurray was just waiting to be corrupted because he has a taste for the good life and would like a share of the bank robber's loot.

The first ten minutes of the movie are a joy to watch. After the bank heist, Novak ensnares MacMurray in one of the best pick-ups that I have ever seen, even by Noir standards. The dialogue between the two sizzles and Novak is one fast-moving dame who doesn't waste any time with coyness. In the beginning, she doesn't really care who she shares the booty with, though she isn't quite as duplicitous and conniving as Phyllis Dietrichson. She is too soft for that.

MacMurray is very good as the easily corruptible cop, he underplays it as he was never a scenery-chewer. He perfectly embodies the cynicism of Noir and also its darkness. The darkness he has within him is reflected in the (nocturnal) darkness without.
The ending is pure tragic Noir futility. Both protagonists realize that they really cared for each other. ďWe didnít really need the money, did we?Ē is a sad epitaph if there ever was one.


Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2017, 02:03:20 AM »

I like Pushover. It's a solid mix of Rear Window and (obviously) Double Indemnity. It has a snappy pace, a nice look and Kim Novak.

I like it as well. It's a lot like Double Indemnity (not just because of the same leading actor). I agree about its snappy pace and the nice look. Kim Novak was great as the femme fatale.

Generally I'll watch this movie and Double Indemnity together, one after the other. I also like to throw in the 1950 noir The Man Who Cheated Himself, which is kind of similar to these two movies. This time it's Lee J. Cobb who plays a senior cop who also happens to be a womanizer. He witnesses his girlfriend bump off her abusive husband. He sets up a scenario so that neither of them will be suspected. One thing he doesn't count on: his much younger brother (John Dall), a new cop, starts to catch on to what's happening. (I really think that John Dall should have had a better career. He was amazing!) That noir is also worth a look, in my opinion.

When I first heard that Lee J. Cobb would be playing a womanizer, I got a bit confused and I wondered why such a role wasn't given to someone like Cary Grant. To my surprise, Cobb pulled off the role very nicely. He wasn't good looking at all in my opinion, but he had me completely convinced that he could get any woman he wanted.

So anyway, back to Pushover....for those who enjoyed it, I recommend The Man Who Cheated Himself, too.

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