17 January 2007 | Doylenf
Noteworthy for the film debut of Kim Novak...tight suspense...
PUSHOVER is an underrated, little known crime melodrama from the mid-'50s that introduced the blonde beauty of KIM NOVAK to audiences and gave FRED MacMURRAY another chance to play an authority figure seduced by the charms of a femme fatale. When the story begins, it turns out his accidental meeting with Novak was really a set-up, he being a cop assigned to keep track of her whereabouts after a bank hold-up results in the death of a police officer.
He suspects that her mobster boyfriend pulled the job and at first resists when she tries to convince him they can use the bank money for themselves. But eventually, he weakens and before you know it he's informing her that her phone is wire tapped and the two of them are just one step ahead of the police for the rest of the film.
PHIL CAREY, as a fellow officer and E.G. MARSHALL as the lead detective are excellent in supporting roles, as is DOROTHY MALONE in a pivotal role as a girl occupying the apartment next to Novak in a U-shaped building that enables MacMurray and Carey to keep an eye on both gals through binoculars (shades of REAR WINDOW).
Conveniently, no one ever draws the blinds in these sort of thrillers and spying is made so easy for the sake of plotting, as the 24-hour surveillance occupies much of the story. The noir elements are present throughout, the dark rainy streets, the shadowy photography during car chases, the clipped delivery of lines, the murder scheme gone awry, the femme fatale angelic on the outside, bad within.
But somehow it never becomes a major film noir, relegated to its place in obscurity over the years and not really a title that pops up when one speaks of film noir--but it does qualify as noir, on a minor scale, and it's given some taut direction and tight suspense by director Richard Quine.
Kim is as easy as ever on the eyes although a bit robotic in her acting technique and never quite convincing as a mobster's moll. MacMurray has a less interesting, more one-dimensional role as a cop corrupted by beauty.
All in all, definitely worth watching.