Sunday, January 29, 2017

Keep On Pushing

Just to keep the noir going, Pushover (1954). Directed by Richard Quine, it starts Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak, and it does have a touch of Double Indemnity in it.

It starts with a bank robbery and murder. Then we cut to Kim Novak coming out of the movies. She is wrapped in furs, but all alone. When her car won't start, Fred MacMurray comes over to help. They both noticed each other in the theater and wondered why they were alone. Well, I'm wondering too. They have some sexy dialog, go to a bar, then his place, and the whole time, we don't know what's going on. Who are these people and what are they up to?

Spoiler - he's a cop and she's the moll of one of the bank robbers. MacMurray was assigned to get close to her, and I guess he is pretty good at it. Of course, she does catch on, in a great little scene where she spits, "You're a cop!" and slaps him. As she kicks him out, she says, "Well, it's been weird knowing you." But he isn't just sleeping with her because it's his job. He's starting to fall in love with her. So they start cooking up a scheme to take the money from the heist and run off together.

Meanwhile, MacMurray has to keep playing cop, doing surveillance along with partner Phil Carey. Carey spends most of his time watching the redhead next door to Novak, a wholesome nurse who puts up drapes in jeans and a man's shirt and hosts cocktail parties after a long day at work. She's played by Dorothy Malone, usually a bad girl. Her part starts out as something like comic relief, but turns into a little more.

This is no Double Indemnity - Novak is more a sex kitten than femme fatale, and MacMurray's cop doesn't have the depth of Walter Neff. But Novak is sexy and real and fun to watch. The cold open is odd and can throw you off balance. All in all, exemplary noir.

Ms. Spenser, on the other hand, was disappoint that nobody was actually push over anything, like off the roof.

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