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A Life in the Balance (1955)

 -  Thriller  -  1 July 1955 (USA)
6.5
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 76 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

Antonio Gomez, a nearly down-and-out musician, is a widower with a young boy, Paco. Fighting to support his boy in the face of unemployment and neighbors who want custody of his son (... See full summary »

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Antonio Gómez
...
María Ibinia
...
The Killer
José Pérez ...
Paco Gómez (as Jose Perez)
Rodolfo Acosta ...
Lt. Fernando
Carlos Múzquiz ...
Capt. Saldana (as Carlos Muzquiz)
Jorge Treviño ...
Sergeant (as Jorge Trevino)
José Torvay ...
Andrés Martínez (as Jose Torvay)
Eva Calvo ...
Carla Arlota
Fanny Schiller ...
Carmen Martínez
Tamara Garina ...
Doña Lucrecia
Pascual García Peña ...
Porter (as Pascual G. Pena)
Tony Carbajal ...
Pedro (as Antonio Carbajal)
Edit

Storyline

Antonio Gomez, a nearly down-and-out musician, is a widower with a young boy, Paco. Fighting to support his boy in the face of unemployment and neighbors who want custody of his son (something that here in Mexico City they might just obtain), Gomez argues with an ex-girlfriend over money she owes him. After he leaves, the girlfriend is murdered by the religious-fanatic serial killer terrorizing the city. When neighbors report the argument Gomez had with the dead girl, the police presume they are finally on the hot trail of the serial killer, and Gomez is their target. Gomez goes out to a pawnshop to buy his son a long-dreamed-of guitar and there meets a young woman with whom he goes looking for his son. What Gomez does not realize is that a police dragnet is closing in on him and that his boy Paco actually witnessed this most recent murder and has been trailing the killer. It's not long, though, before the killer is trailing the boy. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mexico city | mexico | murder

Taglines:

A killer with the cunning of a maniac. A little boy with the courage of a lion. See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Noite Conspira com a Morte  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

 
Has its moments, but overall mediocre
24 May 2012 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Lee Marvin is a crazed American serial killer on the loose in Mexico City who kidnaps an 11-year-old boy who is the only witness to his most recent murder. The boy is the son of down-and-out musician Ricardo Montalban, who frantically searches the city for his son and the psychopath who took him, and in the process hooks up with lovely Anne Bancroft. The Mexico City Police Department joins the pair in their hunt. Marvin is quite good for the most part--although he goes over the top on occasion--and Bancroft looks beautiful but doesn't have all that much to do. Montalban, unfortunately, crosses into "ham" on too many occasions, and the ending is trite and pat. Good use of Mexico City locations works in the film's favor, but the less-than-inspired writing, somewhat sloppy direction and Montalban's overacting work against it. Its good points and its bad points more or less cancel either each out, and the end result is that, while the film manages to hold your interest and has some tense moments, it's somewhat overheated and basically pedestrian.

And, contrary to what several posters believe, it is not in any way, shape or form a "film noir" piece.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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