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Make Haste to Live (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 19 April 1954 (UK)
After serving 18 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, a mobster is paroled and returns to a New Mexico town to exact his revenge on the woman responsible for his conviction.

Director:

William A. Seiter

Writers:

Warren Duff (screenplay), Mildred Gordon (based on novel by) (as The Gordons) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dorothy McGuire ... Crystal Benson
Stephen McNally ... Steve Blackford
Mary Murphy ... Randy Benson
Edgar Buchanan ... Sheriff Lafe
John Howard ... Josh Blake
Ron Hagerthy ... John 'Hack' Hackenthal
Pepe Hern Pepe Hern ... Rudolfo Gonzáles
Eddy Waller ... 'Spud' Kelly
Carolyn Jones ... Mary Rose
Rosa Turich ... Juana
Julian Rivero ... Carlos
Celia Lovsky ... Mother
William Bailey ... Ed Jenkins
Argentina Brunetti ... Mrs. Gonzales
Bob Carney Bob Carney ... Round-Faced Man
Edit

Storyline

Crystal 'Chris' Benson, a single mother in a small New Mexico town, senses a shadowy menace stalking her in the night. She acquires a gun and makes arrangements anticipating her own death, tape-recording a message for her teenage daughter which (in flashback) tells of her involvement with Steve Blackford, who has very good reason to hate her. Chris is determined and resourceful, but Steve has had 18 years to plan revenge. Doom closes in... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only A Gangster Killer Knew The Secret Of Her Past! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 1954 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Outcast See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.65 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Southwestern noir grows muddled, implausible
11 March 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

The spooky opening sequence piques our appetite for Make Haste to Live. A sinister stranger looms in the bedroom where Dorothy McGuire tosses in restive sleep. The editor of a small-town newspaper in the New Mexico desert, she's being stalked by her husband, a gangster just released from the pen for murder -- HER murder. Seems that years before, in Chicago, a woman was killed in an rigged explosion; when the body was identified as hers, McGuire packed up and started a new life.

But having set up this intriguing situation, Make Haste to Live loses its way and ends up a muddled mess. When the husband (Steven McNally) insinuates himself into the household of McGuire and their teenage daughter, he's passed off as a black-sheep brother. And credulity gets strained way past the snapping point. McGuire flip-flops between resourceful adversary and the most feckless of battered wives; at times the two roil with hatred for one another but at others a light flirtatiousness enters their interactions. Any valid psychology in this, however, isn't worked out in dramatic terms; we get no sense of the hold McNally has over his wife, only that he wants to kill her and she seems willing to die.

A Bottomless Pit in an old Indian pueblo makes an early appearance but doesn't end up playing the role we come to expect it will; so the final resolution is contrived, coming not out of character but out of the blue. Moseying along from one thing to another, Make Haste to Live has no urgent destination in mind.


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