On trial for murder, Larry Ballantyne regurgitates an unbelievable story. He recounts how he philanders to other women while his rich loving wife Gretta tries to keep him in line. According... See full summary »
Larry Nelson, paroled from prison after serving nearly half of his thirty-year sentence, is determined to not fall into the clutches of the law again, and takes a quiet job at a country ... See full summary »
In a racially mixed American town, a 5-year-old black girl falls unnoticed into a hidden, forgotten well on her way to school. Having nothing better to go on, the police follow up a report ... See full summary »
Leo C. Popkin,
Sheila Page, a Broadway star, shoots Barney, her murderous husband on New Year's Eve. She flees her apartment and goes to her Producer, John Friday. When she arrives, it is New Year's day, ... See full summary »
Louise Mason is a young widow who fills her empty life with the task of becoming a children's nurse. As the years pass, and the widow tries to find her own place in life, her young charges,... See full summary »
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Jerry McKibbon is a tough, no nonsense reporter, mentoring special prosecutor John Conroy in routing out corrupt officials in the city, which may even include Conroy's own police detective father as a suspect.
The surprising Ted Tetzlaff directs Conte, Totter in offbeat prison-farm noir
Those persistent rumors about Ida Lupino's being bald as a bean may have been fueled in part by Under The Gun, in which Audrey Totter appears to be wearing Lupino's old hair. Totter's a diva in a `Miama' nightclub in whom mobster Richard Conte takes both a professional and personal interest. En route by car back to New York, Conte takes care of some unfinished business by murdering a man but is arrested and stands trial. Despite herself, Totter finds she cannot commit perjury (`You just weren't worth the lies,' she later tells Conte). So he pulls a 20-year sentence at a prison farm in the deep South, where the concept of parole is unknown.
And the most interesting and accomplished part of Under The Gun - most of the movie, in fact - takes place at the prison farm. Conte thinks he can escape by bribing a hated `trusty' (Royal Dano), an inmate who earns special privileges by standing watch with a shotgun when the men go on work details. But Conte's buddy in the next bunk (Sam Jaffe) explains the finer points of the penal code in Dixie: If a trusty kills a prisoner trying to escape, he earns early release.
Conte, however, is as Machiavellian as he is ruthless. He coaxes a simple-minded inmate to make a break for it; Dano kills the gullible fool and secures release. Trigger-happy Conte becomes the next trusty, itching for his bid for freedom. Impatient, he makes Jaffe a grisly offer: If he tries to escape under Conte's gun, Conte will make a payoff to Jaffe's wife and children....
Ted Tetzlaff, the director, handles the ironies and ambiguities in the plot adroitly. A former cinematographer, he worked in and around the noir cycle, sometimes routinely (as in A Dangerous Profession and Gambling House), but in a couple of tries quite amazingly: Riffraff and The Window. Under The Gun lies somewhere in the middle, hobbled by a lame ending. But at least Totter, as the target for Conte's revenge, shows up again for the close. Even as a brunette, she's always worth watching.
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