Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE (1950). Director: Gordon Douglas.

Ralph Cotter (James Cagney) escapes from prison with the help of Holiday Carleton (Barbara Payton), the sister of another inmate, who dies during the break out. With the help of a shifty lawyer named Mandon (Luther Adler), Cotter blackmails a corrupt police inspector named Weber (Ward Bond) into using his resources into committing crimes. All goes smoothly until Cotter falls for Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter), the wealthy daughter of a powerful man... This is a rather fascinating suspense/crime film, bolstered by excellent performances from the entire cast. Cagney is as mesmerizing as ever, and the tragic Payton, whose private life often overshadowed her acting achievements, proves that she had genuine talent. The scene when she clings to Cagney and intones "I'm so alone, I'm so alone" is quite affecting. Helena Carter is also quite good in a less showy role. The force of the ending is a bit blunted by the production code, but this is still a very entertaining movie. Kenneth Tobey from It Came from Beneath the Sea, John Litel and Barton MacLane are also in the cast, and William Frawley from I Love Lucy scores as a nasty if good-humored prison guard.

Verdict: Nifty crime drama with outstanding lead performance and highly creditable supporting cast. ***.

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