'Loophole' (1954)

by Michael Barrett

18 October 2013

Beware of the good guys.
 
cover art

Loophole

Director: Harold Schuster
Cast: Barry Sullivan, Dorothy Malone

USDVD release date: 15 Apr 2013

This surprisingly tense noir, shot on the streets of Los Angeles, begins with a stentorian narrator intoning forebodingly about our hero, bank teller Mike Donovan (Barry Sullivan), who’s about to become a patsy when his cash drawer is robbed in a clever manner. We know from the start who’s guilty—a tubby middle-aged fellow (Don Beddoe) and his platinum blonde, cigarette-smoking bad-girl in a sweater (Mary Beth Hughes). With his faithful wife (Dorothy Malone) by his side, Mike is able to convince everyone of his innocence except the film’s real antagonist, a bull-headed, two-fisted, toxically stupid investigator (Charles McGraw) for the bond company, who hounds the couple nearly into debt by causing Mike to lose several jobs. It never occurs to them to call an attorney or file charges for harassment; this is the Fifties.

The regular figures of law and order are stand-up guys who believe in Mike’s innocence, but that one bad apple ratchets up the tension and frustration like nobody’s business, giving the viewer an unrelenting sense of unfairness barreling through the Donovans’ lives like a Studebaker. It all ends up in a Malibu beach house that looks for all the world like the same one in Kiss Me Deadly, also about a two-fisted hammerhead. The superb McGraw embodies the flipside of the supposed crusader for justice who takes the law into his own hands—in this case without realizing he’s just plain wrong. This gives the movie its subversive little charge. This Allied Artists item is now available on demand from Warner Archive.

Loophole

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Trickle Down Corruption in 'This Is the Police'

// Moving Pixels

"In a world of hitmen, snitches, mobsters, murderers, terrorists, rapists, rioters, bombers, thieves, and serial killers, your greatest enemy is your boss.

READ the article