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Cleo Moore was one of the sexiest blonde starlets of the 1950's but sadly this 1957 release was her swan song. She had starred in around ten films and was well known by the public but I guess there was just too many beautiful blondes around at the time. She's the best thing in this standard little film noir of the beautiful young wife, middle-aged husband, and the young hunk who comes between them. Looking fantastic as a platinum blonde, Cleo gives an excellent performance and her love scenes with hunky Vince Edwards are fairly torrid. Director-costar Haas seems a little too sympathetic to his own character for my liking, a boisterous auto repair shop owner who woos option-less showgirl Moore. Never a particularly good director (to say the least), Haas notably wastes the potential in one scene in the wrecked car "graveyard" beside his repair shop which manages an eerie touch nevertheless. The movie quite low budget but that proves to be an asset in capturing the angst of low-income 50's America.
"Hit and Run" was written and directed by Hugo Haas. He also stars in
it. He plays the owner of a gas station and auto junk yard, who falls
in love with showgirl Cleo Moore and marries her. (This was her last
film.) Vince Edwards is Haas's mechanic and he falls hard for Ms. Moore
too. She resists, but underneath she wants him too.
This arrangement with all three in close proximity leads approximately into a "Postman Rings Twice" kind of scenario with twists that do not appear in that movie and make this story original. This is a film noir tale and a film noir, but the directing of Haas doesn't do all that much to make the film artistically noir.
Noir fans will want to see this film, but not everyone is going to abide Haas. The screen presence of Haas and the kind of part he has here and in other films is unusual, to say the least. He's typically gregarious, intelligent, generous, talkative, caring and avuncular, even as he marries a beautiful leading lady. He comes across schmaltzy. His acting style doesn't meld well with any established school of acting, other than perhaps being a very pale knockoff of Paul Muni's but without Muni's talent for becoming a different character. Haas is simply so much in view that this tends to break down the fourth wall. But if one can get by that, the movies of his really aren't bad at all.
In this one, Ms. Moore is radiant and does a nice job as a woman caught between two men. Edwards is an actor who grows on you. He's serious and moody. He doesn't overact. You sense how he feels and feels deeply. Haas as writer also gave him some good quips. The plot also carries this film along by having some unique twists. So, the IMDb rating is about right.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
****SPOILERS**** The usually ending up with the short end of the stick
Hugo Hass ends up on top here for once. Hass plays a duel role as twin
brothers Gus & David Hilmer who ends up confusing his wife Julie, Cleo
Moore, and her boyfriend Gus's ace car mechanic Frank played by a pre
Ben Casey Vince Edwards to which of the two twin brothers he is and
which one they ended up murdering! The confusion sets in when Gus is
run down and killed by Frank with a terrified, in not knowing what her
boyfriend was up to, Cleo in the passenger seat.
With Cleo expected to end up with Gus's gas station as well as house and some $50,000.00 in cash up pops his twin brother David looking for a piece of the action or of Gus' estate! Gus who treated his brother David like dirt when he was behind bars in the joint-San Quentin- for forgery had a change of mind when David was released from prison and sought out his help. Sadly for David Gus, before he could thank him, was killed in a hit & run by Frank whom just the day before he put David into his will! When David showed up at the lawyers office his resemblance, even though he was Gus' twin, to his dead brother was astonishing! To the point that he not only looked like a carbon copy of his dead brother Gus but has all of his quirky mannerisms as well! It slowly became obvious to Cleo that it was David that her boyfriends Frank ran down and that her husband Gus took over his identity! With David messing up Frank's plans he now decides to leave Cleo for circus lion tamer Miranda, Dolores Reed, who developed a crush on him and check out with her to Mexico. That's as far away from the very unstable Cleo who's about to crack under the presser and spill the beans, in him killing her husband, on him to the police!
****SPOILERS**** Never a dull moment her with director and star Hugo Hass keeping everyone on there toes to who of the two, or even both of them, brothers he supposed to be playing here in the movie. This drives Cleo almost over the edge in hitting the bottle and getting herself smashed while Frank, who was only using her, tries to check out of town with Miranda as well as from the police! ***MAJOR SPOILER*** David who in fact was the supposedly murdered Gus played it both cool as well as a bit stupid which got both Cleo and Frank to drop their guard and expose themselves as David's, not his, murderers. And he did it so skillfully that even at the very last moment of the movie until his took off his shirt, and revealed a scare on his cheat, no one in the audience as well as the cast in the movie was quit sure who he was!
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