A big-city reporter between jobs is traveling with his wife through a small Ozarks town and gets a lead on a bank robbery. He tracks down the brutal gang that committed the robbery, only to...
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A big-city reporter between jobs is traveling with his wife through a small Ozarks town and gets a lead on a bank robbery. He tracks down the brutal gang that committed the robbery, only to discover that they are something of a source of pride to the locals. His hopes of getting back into the big time with this story are dashed when his "interview" with the gang leader goes awry and he and his wife find themselves hostages. Written by
The car Deputy Follett drives is a 1951 or '52 Dodge Coronet 4-door sedan. Those two model years are practically identical because Chrysler was too busy fulfilling orders from the military for the Korean War to bother with any restyling of the Cornet for 1952. See more »
[to Colleen Miller]
Nobody gets tricky with me. You understand that, Lady? Nobody gets tricky with me.
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A bright flare of heat from the embers of the noir cycle
By 1957, the dark fire of the noir cycle had all but died down, yet amid the embers were a few live coals. Plunder Road was one; another is Hot Summer Night. It stars the young Leslie Nielsen, then being groomed as a tough romantic lead, as an out-of-work newspaper man from Kansas City on his honeymoon in the Ozarks who can't pass up a lead on a brutal bank robbery.
Trouble is, in the possum-run of a town he's staying in, the head of the gang (Robert Wilke) has become a local hero; nobody wants to whisper a word, both out of pride and fear of reprisal. When Nielsen finally gets taken to the rural hideout, long-simmering violence among the thieves erupts, and he finds himself held for ransom by the trigger-happy new leader (Paul Richards). Meanwhile the poor bride (Colleen Miller) doesn't know where her husband has disappeared to, and finds herself running into the same obstinate wall of silence....
Produced by MGM (which head of production Dore Schary had nudged toward noir), Hot Summer Night boasts a clean, straightforward script, a score by André Previn, and a roster of well-cast players even in small parts, among them Marianne Stewart, Claude Akins, and the always excellent Jay C. Flippen. It's a modest but workmanlike picture that holds up well close to half a century after its release.
Note: Another commentator called this movie `Ma and Pa Kettle meet Cornell Woolrich.' While the point is appreciated, the immortal Kettles made their debut in the Claudette Colbert/Fred MacMurray vehicle The Egg and I of 1947, which was set in the Pacific Northwest, not, as is often assumed, in the Ozarks or Appalachia.
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