6.9/10
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Hold Back Tomorrow (1955)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | November 1955 (USA)
A condemned murderer, scheduled to hang in the morning, asks for the company of a woman in his final hours.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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...
...
Priest
Dallas Boyd ...
Warden
Steffi Sidney ...
Clara
Mel Welles ...
First Guard
...
...
Escort Girl
...
Proprietress
Kay Riehl ...
Warden's Wife
Jan Englund ...
Girl
Pat Goldin ...
Dancing Comedian
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Storyline

Joe Cardos, a death row inmate in some unidentified country, is to face the gallows in the morning for strangling three women. Filled with bitterness at the world, and perhaps himself, Joe lashes out at the warden and guards' attempts at making his final hours a little easier, and refuses to see either his sister or the prison chaplain. However, Joe does change his mind about being granted a last request, one the prison is obligated by law to fulfill: He asks for a woman's company so he can have some "fun" in the time that's left. After asking around, two police detectives show up at the prison with a down-on-her-luck former "waitress" named Dora, who earlier that night had tried to drown herself. Dora, totally broke and feeling she has nothing to lose, has agreed to spend the night with Joe in his cell. As she sees it, the money she's being offered should be enough for "a decent funeral." Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

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Plot Keywords:

prison | marriage | See All (2) »

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What Strange Law Brought This Beautiful Woman into His Cell? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

November 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

No Tomorrow  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Detective: He wants to have some fun. Music, dancing, y'know. To kill time.
Dora: Before time kills him. It's a good idea.
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Connections

Referenced in The Ultimate Degenerate (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

Tawdry Tabloid Tale, Tenderly Told
3 August 1999 | by See all my reviews

John Agar himself has said (in an online chat hosted by Turner Classic Movies) that this was a "very strange" movie. Strange yes, but also intriguing in a low-budget sort of way.

Of course, the film is a retread of the old hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold romantic fantasy. (A much more recent example: "Leaving Las Vegas.") The Cleo Moore character, who agrees to spend the night with Agar, isn't actually identified as a prostitute, but we get the idea. We also know that the more time these two tormented souls spend together, the more they will get to know each other, and themselves, with a generous helping of psychobabble along the way.

But once you get past the obviousness of the film's rather incredible premise, not to mention a mawkish opening theme song, things get interesting in this modest, offbeat Hugo Haas opus. Moore and Agar deliver performances that are sincere, if at times a bit theatrical - he plays a condemned man who's mad at the whole world; she plays a suicidal woman who, despite her despair, is still capable of hope. Some of Moore and Agar's scenes together are nicely played out in long, continuous takes.

Unfortunately, the movie is nearly ruined by a frustrating, unresolved ending. Haas may have been trying for some kind of dramatically suspended moment, but it makes you want to yell at him: Tell us what happens next!!!


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