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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)




















Starring:
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Robert Ryan
  • Shelley Winters
IMDB.com
Dave Burke is looking to hire two men to assist him in a bank raid: Earl Slater, a white ex-convict, and Johnny Ingram, a black gambler. Both are reluctant; but Burke arranges for Ingram's creditors to put pressure on him, while Slater feels humiliated by his failure to provide for his girlfriend; they eventually accept. But Slater loathes and despises blacks, and the tensions in the gang rapidly mount.

Bigotry undermines this unholy trio's effort to execute the ultimate robbery. The actors whipped up for this illegal exercise are played by Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan and Ed Begley. The volatile chemistry between the three desperate fellows fuels this bleak film noir from the late Fifties. Once again, there is some gorgeous on location photography in Manhattan, especially Central Park. Fine Jazz and Calypso music are served up at the smoky club where Belafonte works. Crooked camera angles and cluttered set direction contribute nicely to a claustrophobic atmosphere. The apartment building where Begley resides has a weird elevator that has multiple exit doors as well as an operator who likes to talk about the wind piercing the elevator shaft. The dames--Gloria Grahame and Shelly Winters--are rough but warm around the edges. Wayne Rogers makes his debut in a small role as a braggart in a bar. Stick around for the killer final and be blown away.

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