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Joseph H. Lewis
Eddie Shannon is an undersized, sports-car mechanic who dreams of racing an expensive car in a European meet. He meets and falls in love with Barbara Mathews, and thinks she loves him. She introduces him to Steve Norris and Harold Baker, who ask him to drive the getaway car in a bank robbery they are planning. He refuses, but changes his mind after some gentle persuasion from Barbara. The job is pulled off and, following a wild getaway, Eddie learns that Barbara was just using him and that Steve and Harold have plans to kill him. Gritty retribution is just around the corner. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
As other reviewers point out, America's favorite little guy was at a career crossroads at this point (1953). All in all, this downbeat low-budget caper film was a gutsy choice for MGM's former golden boy. Not only is Rooney's Eddie Shannon a rather pathetically repressed and vulnerable nobody, but the script stays entirely within that character, allowing Rooney none of his usual assertive (and often annoying) antics. The result is perhaps the biggest departure of his career, and also perhaps the most moving.
The film itself is a good one, benefiting from unfamiliar Southern Cal locations, excellent acting from a number of up-&-comers, Jack Kelly , Kevin McCarthy, et al., and a plausible script. As a caper film, it's inferior to the best ones of that decade (The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, etc.), but as an account of one man's sad and lonely plight (never a Hollywood biggie), it holds its own with the best of them, thanks to Rooney.
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