6.3/10
105
6 user 2 critic

A Life in the Balance (1955)

Approved | | Thriller | 1 July 1955 (USA)
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 »

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(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)
...
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 | See All (3) »

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 »
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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
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User Reviews

 
Pretty good...but I wish they'd all just shut up at the end of the film..so I am deducting a point!
24 February 2017 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Despite being a contract player for the top studio of the day, MGM, Ricardo Montalban was apparently not happy about the sorts of roles Hispanic actors got in Hollywood...hence he later started a non- profit ("Nosotros") to encourage Spanish-speaking actors and Hispanic themes in films. So I am pretty sure he was thrilled with a chance to star in "A Life in the Balance", as he was able to play a Mexican man and the film is set in Mexico City!

When the film begins, it's very apparent that Antonio (Montalban) loves his son, Paco, very much. But he's lost his job and they barely make ends meet. Additionally, the boy often is on his own while his father is working. There is a lot of pressure on Antonio to let the neighbors raise the boy...but he won't consider it.

Despite losing his job, Antonio pretends that he does have work and tries hard to convince the boy that everything is fine. In fact, he even promises to buy his son a guitar! But when Antonio goes to an old girlfriend to get some money she owes him, they argue a bit. Later, after he's gone, a serial killer (Lee Marvin) murders her and folks assume Antonio did it! To make things worse, Paco saw the murder and the maniac has captured him. What's next? See the film.

I liked this film and was very prepared to give it a score of 7. However, at the very end, the characters all started talking and philosophizing...and it all came off as unnecessary and preachy. This was clearly a case where the film was finished...but they kept filming and talking! Still, despite this, the movie's pretty good viewing...and must have made Montalban happy because he was able to get back to his roots.


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