After a particularly nasty bank heist, the thief manages to evade authorities. The cops have a pretty good idea who perpetrated the robbery, but they have a hard time locating the suspect. Angry and frustrated, the Police Chief (E. G. Marshall, 12 Angry Men) assembles a surveillance team and begins tailing the elusive criminal’s girlfriend (Kim Novak, Vertigo). The cop (Fred MacMurray, The Apartment) assigned to follow the sexy gun moll makes a huge mistakes — he falls in love with the woman in question. It’s not a big surprise that nothing goes as planned.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Pushover, written by Roy Huggins, directed by Richard Quine (Paris – When It Sizzles), is an entertaining, but a bit anemic crime drama that somehow fails to generate much excitement. This rather obscure Columbia production plays like a poor man’s Double Indemnity (1944), with MacMurray practically reprising his famous role from Billy Wilder’s 1944 masterpiece.
It’s also too polished and bright for my taste. The crispiness of the cinematography is at odds with the subject matter. I like my noir grungy and dark. Director Quine’s style is better suited for a Judy Holliday comedy not a murder mystery.
Novak, however, in her first starring role, is radiant. You cannot take your eyes off her. It’s a passive role made interesting by Novak’s obvious star quality. Marshall is also very effective as MacMurray’s “all-business” boss. Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind) has a small, but pivotal role as Novak’s unsuspecting next door neighbor.
The cast also includes Philip Carey (Mister Roberts), and Phil Chambers (Rage at Dawn). Film debut of Allen Nourse (Odds Against Tomorrow).
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Pushover is not bad — it just didn’t engage me in the least. The movie is mostly for noir completists and/or Novak fans. B&W, 88 minutes, Not Rated.