HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Pushover Fred MacMurray just can't keep away from a femme fatale
Year: 1954
Director: Richard Quine
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Phil Carey, Kim Novak, Dorothy Malone, E.G. Marshall, Alan Nourse, Paul Richards
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: On leaving a movie theatre sultry Lola McLane (Kim Novak) has trouble starting her car. So Paul Sheridan (Fred MacMurray) saunters over offering to help. They leave the car with a mechanic and spend the evening together at a bar. Which goes well enough Lola accompanies Paul back to his apartment. The next day Paul and his partner Rick McCallister (Phil Carey) report to their superior, Lieutenant Eckstrom (E.G. Marshall). For Paul is actually a cop assigned to trail Lola in order to catch her bank-robbing boyfriend Harry Wheeler (Paul Richards). At least that is the plan. It is not long though before both Lola and a stolen $250,000 start to look awfully tempting to the hard-luck cop.

Interestingly this Fifties film noir crime thriller was adapted from two different novels: Thomas Walsh's 'The Night Watch' and 'Rafferty' by Bill S. Ballinger (also a prolific screenwriter for film, television and radio). Nevertheless critics at the time felt the plot of Pushover skewed too closely to the Raymond Chandler-scripted Billy Wilder-directed noir classic Double Indemnity (1944). Which of course also starred Fred MacMurray. Certainly there are echoes here of MacMurray's earlier role as he once again portrays an antihero who thinks of himself as a sharp operator who knows all the angles. Only to find himself increasingly out of his depth. Yet in terms of style, treatment and tone, Pushover feels like a different kind of noir compared to the Wilder classic. Lester H. White's stark, torn-from-the-headlines style of cinematography leaves less room for that film noir pulp poetry, but suits the brisk storytelling of director Richard Quine. The opening credits play over a tense bank robbery while the second act evolves into a variation on Rear Window (1954) that contrasts Paul's obsession with Lola with Rick's growing infatuation with Ann (Dorothy Malone), the 'nice girl' next door. A subplot that eventually merges with the main thread for a satisfying payoff.

Less ominous with a slightly less jaded view of human behaviour than Double Indemnity, Pushover musters empathy for its morally compromised cop. It also softens its femme fatale character. Kim Novak's smart and perceptive Lola, who figures out Paul is a cop early on, is mercenary enough to latch on to him as a means of escape. Yet the script by Roy Huggins, who went on to create a host of classic TV shows like Maverick, The Fugitive and The Rockford Files, implies Lola's feelings for Paul are genuine and stem from qualities of downtrodden desperation she recognizes in herself. In her first major role Novak's breathless delivery and captivating presence mark her as an obvious star. Although Pushover was a modest success at the box-office it was still a year before Picnic (1955) launched her to true stardom. Novak and Quine were romantically involved but despite a lengthy engagement never actually wed. In fact the couple split shortly after making their last film together, the comedy-mystery The Notorious Landlady (1962).

Having started out as an actor, Quine segued into writing and directing in the early Fifties. Mostly musicals and comedies, many of which were written in partnership with Blake Edwards including a previous film noir, Drive a Crooked Road (1954) starring a hard-boiled Mickey Rooney. Here Quine does a nice job keeping the viewer off-balance, tightening the screws on his doomed duo. Tightly plotted and briskly paced, the film charts Paul's downward spiral in perfunctory albeit absorbing fashion. Where it stumbles slightly is in dwelling excessively Rick and Ann as a saccharine counterpoint to the leads' illicit passion. Ann, who comes complete with her own sugary theme music, practically has a halo hovering permanently above her head. Meanwhile Rick, our ostensible straight arrow, moves from a speech denouncing women as self-serving bitches to eyeballing Ann like a creep. Both come across rather smug and far less affecting than the flawed, desperate protagonists.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1580 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: