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Usually a movie with 20 total IMDb votes is a waste of time; there's probably a good reason nobody remembers it. In this case, The Come On is probably forgotten because snarled film rights have prevented a video or DVD release rather than any issues with the content. In fact, this low budgeter has enough small guilty pleasures and creamy nougat noir smoulder to get you through a late night TCM viewing in style. MACBETH it ain't but this is certainly better than its 5.8 IMDb rating, and definitely worth a look for any fan of Anne Baxter or slightly cheesy crime drama.
Baxter's leading lady career was nearing its expiration date by the time this surprisingly nimble b-movie came out late in the noir cycle but she was still one sexy cougar and she roars through this with all the breathy sigh and sexy twitch she's got. Though his acting is uneven, young Sterling Hayden is an effective physical presence with a couple standout moments. His piercing eyes and prurient "hi" to well-heeled Baxter do more to explain her otherwise well-calculated character's misguided but hungry attraction for this no-prospect schlub than three pages of exposition and setup ever could.
John Hoyt, who appeared in other violent shockers like BRUTE FORCE (though many may know him best for his short-lived ship's doctor role from the original Star Trek pilot), is delightfully violent and creepy here as the slick, tanned grifter who has no problem slapping Baxter around but won't let her go.
The actual set-up of the initial con Hoyt and Baxter are running is neatly done; we don't see it coming and it plays well. That Hayden's character is willing to stick with Baxter to a degree after learning what she's really about strains credibility, but somehow their unlikely doomed romance clicks and the viewer goes along for the ride. We can see Baxter will blow things with this dull-witted chump, but are curious to see how.
That the answer comes in the form of Jesse White, the actor who played the lonely Maytag repairman for 30 years, is another quiet pleasure in this tropical noir. White is surprisingly convincing as a seedy PI attemping to blackmail Baxter and Hayden. It's hard to say more about the plotting without pulling back the curtain too far; suffice to say that there are a few nice twists (probably one too many; one character actually says "I just don't seem to be able to stay dead ") but the ending is faithful to the noir tradition. Yes, a lot of cheese and cornballs are consumed over the course of this poison pill meal, but it's still a filling and satisfying repast.
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