Another of the "Fate and Irony" films from director-writer-producer-actor Hugo Haas but this one has less hair-shirt torment than most of his offerings, although his camera, as usual, ... See full summary »
The wife of an alcoholic writer must take a job as a taxi driver to make ends meet. A young man she picks up as a fare befriends her, but when her husband is found murdered, the police suspect she and her new "friend" committed the murder.
An elderly watchmaker stops a beautiful young blonde from committing suicide by throwing herself off a bridge. They eventually marry, and things go well until a man from the woman's ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
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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