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If it didn't have so many similarities to DOUBLE INDEMNITY, I would have scored this one higher
MartinHafer6 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I couldn't help but think that this movie was an attempt to cash in on Fred MacMurray's earlier success in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, as PUSHOVER is in so many ways a reworking of this story. Instead of Fred being an insurance investigator who falls for a hot dame and agrees to turn his back on the law, this time he's an FBI agent--but once again there's a hot dame (Kim Novak) and she wants him to kill her boyfriend who has a fortune in stolen bank money. Hmmm...sure sounds familiar, huh?! Well, despite being a completely unoriginal acting role for Fred, it is still a pretty good film but I can't help thinking that I wouldn't have seen the many, many parallels to the other film had it starred someone else. For decent dialog, excitement and pacing, it should merit at least a 7 but I've got to deduct a point for the lack of originality.

PS--While Ms. Novak was lovely, Fred was a decade older than he was in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, so I felt his "loverboy" role was awfully hard to believe.
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Mysterious temptation
TheLittleSongbird24 July 2020
Really liked the idea of the story, it is not an original one and one can understand if one calls it derivative (hence the constant comparisons to other films, including inevitably 'Double Indemnity') but it is one that always intrigues. Was also intrigued by seeing Kim Novak in her film debut and Fred MacMurray playing against type. Richard Quine never properly excited me as a director but did make watchable and more films. Am a fan of the genre so expectations were high.

'Pushover' is not by all means one of the best films of the genre and the story execution is not always perfect, but the things that the film was seen for in the first place don't disappoint. It for me was a very good film and nearly great, as the numerous good things are more than good. Novak and MacMurray both impress, it is very successful in its atmosphere and it is one of Quine's better films. If asked whether 'Pushover' is recomended by me, my answer would be yes.

The good things far outweigh the not so good, am saying not so good as there is nothing that is done disastrously. 'Pushover' looks great, loved its atmospheric style, its audacious stylishness and the sense of noir-ish claustrophobia that the clever filming and the suitably creepy and beautifully designed setting. Quine provides some taut direction, it may not be distinctive direction (not that that is a bad thing) he clearly knew what he was doing and he was hardly disinterested. This is one of his darker and more mature films seeing as he was better known in lightweight comedy. The music is not over-bearing or melodramatic and has a broodiness that fits the atmosphere well.

It's a smartly and thoughtfully scripted film, never coming over as awkward and it's easy to take seriously without being overly so. The story may not be original in basic concept, but is advantaged by its uncompromising atmosphere, some genuine suspense, its tight yet also controlled pacing and some not too obvious turns. Novak epitomises glamour and makes a most credible debut that is suitably mysterious. MacMurray has an easy going charm yet doesn't miss the required intensity at the same time. All the supporting cast do well, with the standouts being Phillip Carey and especially Dorothy Malone.

Not quite flawless by all means. The central relationship could have done with more development, there is chemistry between Novak and MacMurray but everything else in the story is more memorable and is not as sketchy.

Did feel too that there was a character change towards the end, which they become more sympathetic, that comes out of nowhere and didn't gel with what they were like in the rest of the film.

All in all, very good. 8/10
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An Easily Corruptible Cop
bkoganbing22 November 2008
In Pushover Fred MacMurray dusts off his acclaimed portrayal of Walter Neff the luckless insurance agent from Double Indemnity and gives him a badge as an easily corruptible cop. The temptation in his path is another dame, in this case Kim Novak being 'introduced' in this film as Columbia's answer to Marilyn Monroe.

MacMurray's a cop who is assigned to get close to gangster Paul Richards's moll Novak. Richards and his mob have pulled off a bank heist and if they had any sense, they'd be out of the country and fleeing. But police captain E.G. Marshall reasons that Richards ain't going nowhere without Novak.

Of course what he doesn't figure on MacMurray's libido as well as Richards. Novak's one cool ice princess in this one, she's willing to spend the loot with one crook as another and one with a badge sounds pretty good to her.

There's a side romance going as well with Novak's neighbor, nurse Dorothy Malone and fellow officer Philip Carey. Malone gets innocently caught up in the intrigue. Carey while doing surveillance on Novak's apartment gets to peeping in on Malone next door. His little Rear Window act pays off in the end.

Pushover is a fine noir drama and highly recommended for those who like myself know full well that Fred MacMurray is capable of a lot more than Disney films and My Three Sons which I think most know him for today. Novak makes a stunning debut as the ultimately luckless moll and the rest of the cast backs them up with a splendid ensemble effort.
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breakout star Kim Novak
SnoopyStyle3 December 2017
A bank robbery ends with the killing of a security guard. Sexy Lona McLane (Kim Novak) in a crippled car is saved by Paul Sheridan (Fred MacMurray) and they have a fling. He's a cop assigned to stakeout a known robber's girlfriend who turns out to be Lona. She sets out to corrupt the pushover cop in her own scheme. Police Lieutenant Karl Eckstrom (E.G. Marshall) is his boss.

Fred MacMurray continues his noir leading man and Kim Novak is the breakout star. She definitely has all the star qualities. She is sexy, alluring, superior, innocent, and devious. It's an all-around performance. MacMurray is doing compelling work. It does need more tension especially in the first half. Maybe make Paul the lead investigator in the case and start with him at the bank investigating. There is too much waiting for the situation to develop although I'm not sure how to speed it up.
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No Indemnity.
rmax30482330 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
At twenty-one, Kim Novak never looked better. She has a wistful quality that at the same time seems to exude oestrus. Her voice is a helpless whisper that adds to the impression that she's just aching to be taken advantage of. It's entirely understandable that MacMurray should go ga ga over her.

Here's the story. MacMurray meet Novak in the course of doing his job, but they fall for each other. The problem is that Novak belongs to another man, someone with a great deal of money. The duplicitous pair plot to kill the other man and take his money. There is, however, another problem. Things begin to go wrong, first a little, then in mighty important ways. An innocent bystander accidentally bumps into MacMurray while he's carrying out the murder. She might identify him if she meets him again. And there's still another problem. MacMurry has a keen boss who is at first misled as to the nature of the plot but then begins to unravel it. In the end, MacMurray is shot and lies dying, smiling at the sadly disappointed straight guy who used to be his best friend.

If it sounds like "Double Indemnity," it's because the two films share the same endoskeleton. The dame in this noir isn't the treacherous Barbara Stanwyk, but MacMurray has the same role as the man who thought he could outwit the organization he worked for. In "Double Indemnity" it was Pacific All-Risk Insurance. Here it's the police force.

But, except for Novak's angelic presence, "Pushover" is pedestrian compared to "Double Indemnity." The direction by Richard Quine is strictly functional. I was never too fond of Miklas Rosza's dramatic chords but the musical score here is generic "thriller." The dialog lacks sparkle. The story develops some complications but there is nothing edgy about it. There is no scene, for instance, in which MacMurray meets the innocent passer by who might identify him and MacMurray's uncertainty become palpable. Nobody has to fake a broken leg and board a train while wearing a disguise. There is no sense of location, and I don't know why. It's easy to place a story in a real city and it adds a lot to the texture.

There are no illuminating directorial touches, as in "Double Indemnity," when Stanwyk blows the car horn and MacMurray breaks the victim's neck and the camera is glued to Stanwyk's face as she stares straight into the lens and a slight smile appears. When MacMurray kills Novak's boyfriend here, it's just bang, bang, and he's dead. MacMurray is the principal character and he's glum throughout. He has no wisecracks to make. He doesn't look shifty eyed. He seems to be older, a little bored, going through the motions and waiting for his paycheck.

I've been unkind to the movie, and for reasons that are obvious, but that's not to say it stinks except in comparison to "Double Indemnity." The movie itself invites that comparison. But -- on its own -- it's not bad. It's a diverting thriller about a cop who goes crooked. It's just that in the back of the experienced viewer's mind, there's liable to be a simultaneous running of a more colorful and far better movie with a similar plot. Well, let's be pragmatic. If you want to get the most out of "Pushover," don't watch "Double Indemnity" first.
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Slim but enjoyable noir...
moonspinner5527 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Uneven director Richard Quine helmed this combination crime-noir and character portrait, which made a lasting impression as the debut feature for a new smoky beauty, the alluring Kim Novak. Fred MacMurray (miscast but not-bad) stars as a conflicted cop who decides to step into the gutter after being assigned to meet and stake out a beautiful gangster's girl. Intriguingly set in and around a Los Angeles apartment complex, "Pushover" isn't quite the pulpy thriller it was advertised as, yet it does work as an intriguing study of various people teetering on the edge of morality. Especially worth-seeing for Novak's star-making performance, as well as for Dorothy Malone's engaging spunk playing Kim's neighbor. MacMurray continues to look like a Basset Hound with constipation, but his final scene provides terrific movie justice. *** from ****
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More a suspense film than a film noir.
dbdumonteil5 January 2003
A film noir ,at its best (when filmed by Dassin,Wise or Walsh) features deeply detailed characters.Here we have cardboard ones:the crooked cop,the good one who finds love,the old one wisely waiting for a really earned retirement,the femme fatale and the good girl(a nurse).But instead of a film noir,we have a good suspense film ,some lite Hitchcock.It was filmed the same year as "rear window" so it cannot be looked upon as a rip-off(the windows play a prominent part in both movies!) The two actresses are cast against type:Kim Novak is the vilainess whereas Dorothy Malone,the traitor in "Colorado territory" and the future bad gal of "written on the wind" ,is an earnest nurse. Entertaining.
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excellent cast in this '50s noir
blanche-219 May 2013
From 1954, "Pushover" is a noir starring Fred MacMurray, Kim Novak, Phil Carey, E.G. Marshall, and Dorothy Malone. Novak and Malone were still starlets, while MacMurray had enjoyed a career that had spanned 20+ years.

MacMurray plays police detective Paul Sheridan, a character similar to his most famous role in Double Indemnity - the good guy easily seduced into being a bad guy by a woman -- in this case, Lona, played by Kim Novak. The detectives, Sheridan and his partner Rick (Carey) and Paddy (Allen Nourse) have been assigned by their commander (Marshall) to catch a bank robber, Wheeler, Lona's boyfriend/sugar daddy, as well as the money he stole. Knowing he will show up at Lona's apartment, Rick tails Lona wherever she goes, Paddy keeps a stakeout outside the building, and Paul watches Lona from an apartment across a courtyard.

One look at Lona, and Paul decides to throw his career away, kill Wheeler, get the money, and leave town with Lona. It's a good plan, but there are some complications. One is the nurse who lives next door to Lona (Malone) who has been flirting with Rick.

Derivative but really good noir, well-directed by Richard Quine. Novak was one of the great beauties of cinema, soft-spoken with both a vulnerability and a sexiness. Phil Carey, who became known as Asa Buchanan on "One Life to Live" was one hunk o' burnin' love. He starred in a lot of B movies in his day, but his looks were totally A list.

Very absorbing.
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edwagreen6 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Excellent film noir where Fred Mac Murray repeats his falling into evil as he did ten years earlier in the memorable "Double Indemnity."

In her film debut, Kim Novak already showed problematic acting as the moll of a bank robber who Fred, the cop, falls for and the two plan to get the money that her boyfriend had stolen in a bank robbery.

With the exception of "The Eddy Duchin Story," and "Jeanne Eagels," both films where she was terrific, Novak just doesn't put it over in the role of the moll.

The role of the moll would have been better suited for Dorothy Malone, who would cop a supporting Oscar two years later in the great "Written on the Wind." Instead, Malone is relegated in playing the nurse next door, who is Mac Murray's ultimate downfall when she keeps meeting him at the most inopportune time for him.

We have a real good suspense thriller here as other police begin to piece together what is really going on in discovering that Fred is the real culprit here.
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A Moth to the Flame
dougdoepke16 July 2007
Really taut little thriller, with enough cat and mouse to satisfy fans of the old Tom and Jerry. Fred Mac Murray's cop starts out as a professional but ends up in a vortex of crime thanks to the compelling allure of the shapely Miss Novak. Good thing she's called on to do little more than stand around looking sexy, because her bad, breathy imitation of Marilyn M. in the opening garage scene had me reaching for the off button. I gather Columbia (read Harry Cohn) had high hopes of launching Novak's career with this role. Too bad she had to compete with a hundred other bosomy blonde Marilyn's for the honor. I like the seduction scene with its subtly unzipped zipper, about as far as the screen could go at that time. The plot wrinkles get pretty complicated at times, but the pace keeps moving nicely along. Then too, the final line presents a poignant slice of ironic insight.There's the inevitable comparison here with the thematically similar Double Idemnity, but then Novak is no Stanwyck and MacMurray is a ten dissipated years older. Still, this little suspenser needs no help from the past and can stand firmly on its own.
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Far better than the novel
searchanddestroy-130 December 2020
This film is a pure jewel, especially when you know that it's made by the great comedy specialist Dick Quine, whose two other crime flicks DRIVE A CROOKED ROAD and MOONSHINE WAR also were surprising movies for such a director, who I repeat, made only comedies besides. I forgot SIREN OF BADDAD, but that was not a film noir, only a grade B Sam Katzman gentle and agreeable crap also made for Columbia studio, where Quine was attached to. So, back to this film, the lead character is a rogue cop, as was Edmond O'Brien in SHIELD FOR MURDER, a bad guy for whom you feel a kind of empathy, but whose fate is already written. This feature offers the particularity to be far better than the novel it is inspired from. It is usually the contrary. Fred McMurray gives an over the top performance in this pure gem. I have always craved for rogue, borderline cops, instead of pure good white knights heats, pure, untouchables....Kim Novak is of course the cherry on the cake, as we say in France, besides Dorothy Malone and the always excellent Phil Carey.
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Money isn't dirty. Just people.
hitchcockthelegend1 July 2012
Pushover is directed by Richard Quine and adapted to screenplay by Roy Huggins from stories written by Bill S. Ballinger and Thomas Walsh. It stars Fred MacMurray, Phillip Carey, Kim Novak, Dorothy Malone and E. G. Marshall. Music is scored by Arthur Morton and cinematography by Lester White.

Straight cop Paul Sheridan (MacMurray) is on the trail of the loot stolen in a bank robbery where a guard was shot and killed. He is tasked with getting to know Lona McLane (Novak), the girlfriend of the chief suspect in the robbery. But once contact is made, and surveillance set up over the road from her apartment complex, Sheridan begins to fall in love and lust with the sultry femme.

Comparisons with the superior Double Indemnity are fair enough, but really there is enough here, and considerable differences too, for the film to rightfully be judged on its own merits. Also of note to point out is that one or two critics have questioned if Pushover is actually a film noir piece? Bizarre! Given that character motives, destinies and thematics of plot are quintessential film noir.

A good but weary guy is emotionally vulnerable and finds his life spun into a vortex of lust, greed and murder. Yet the femme fatale responsible, is not a rank and file manipulator, she too has big issues to deal with, a trophy girlfriend to a crook, she coarsely resents this fact. The cop who never smiles and the girl who has forgotten how too, is there hope there? Do they need the money that has weaved them together? What does that old devil called fate have in store for them? Classic noir traits do pulse from the plot. True, the trajectory the pic takes had been a well trodden formula in noir by the mid fifties, where noir as a strong force was on the wane, but this holds up very well.

It isn't just a piece solely relying on two characters either, there's the concurrent tale of Sheridan's voyeuristic partner Rik McAllister (Carey), who has caught the eye of Lona's next door neighbour, Ann Stewart (Malone). Both these characters operate in a different world to the other two, yet the question remains if a relationship can be born out from such shady beginnings? The presentation of relationships here is delightfully perverse. The visual style wrung out by Quine (Drive a Crooked Road) and White (5 Against the House) is most assuredly noir, with 99% of the film set at night, with prominent shadows, damp streets lit by bulbous lamps and roof top scenes decorated sparsely by jutting aerials. The L.A. backdrop a moody observer to the unwrapping of damaged human goods.

Cast are very good, all working well for their reliable director. Novak sizzles in what was her first credited starring role, she perfectly embodies a gal that someone like Paul Sheridan could lose his soul for. MacMurray is suitably weary, his lived in face telling of a life lacking in genuine moments of pleasure. Carey, square jawed, tall and handsome, he is the perfect foil to MacMurray's woe. Malone offers the potential ray of light trying to break out in this dark part of America, while Marshall as tough Lieutenant Eckstrom and Allen Nourse as a copper riding the noir train to sadness, score favourably too.

It opens with a daylight bank robbery and closes in true noir style on a cold and wet night time street. Pushover, deserving to be viewed as one of the more interesting 1950s film noirs. 8/10
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Noteworthy for the film debut of Kim Novak...tight suspense...
Doylenf17 January 2007
PUSHOVER is an underrated, little known crime melodrama from the mid-'50s that introduced the blonde beauty of KIM NOVAK to audiences and gave FRED MacMURRAY another chance to play an authority figure seduced by the charms of a femme fatale. When the story begins, it turns out his accidental meeting with Novak was really a set-up, he being a cop assigned to keep track of her whereabouts after a bank hold-up results in the death of a police officer.

He suspects that her mobster boyfriend pulled the job and at first resists when she tries to convince him they can use the bank money for themselves. But eventually, he weakens and before you know it he's informing her that her phone is wire tapped and the two of them are just one step ahead of the police for the rest of the film.

PHIL CAREY, as a fellow officer and E.G. MARSHALL as the lead detective are excellent in supporting roles, as is DOROTHY MALONE in a pivotal role as a girl occupying the apartment next to Novak in a U-shaped building that enables MacMurray and Carey to keep an eye on both gals through binoculars (shades of REAR WINDOW).

Conveniently, no one ever draws the blinds in these sort of thrillers and spying is made so easy for the sake of plotting, as the 24-hour surveillance occupies much of the story. The noir elements are present throughout, the dark rainy streets, the shadowy photography during car chases, the clipped delivery of lines, the murder scheme gone awry, the femme fatale angelic on the outside, bad within.

But somehow it never becomes a major film noir, relegated to its place in obscurity over the years and not really a title that pops up when one speaks of film noir--but it does qualify as noir, on a minor scale, and it's given some taut direction and tight suspense by director Richard Quine.

Kim is as easy as ever on the eyes although a bit robotic in her acting technique and never quite convincing as a mobster's moll. MacMurray has a less interesting, more one-dimensional role as a cop corrupted by beauty.

All in all, definitely worth watching.
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"You Win"
LeonLouisRicci9 August 2013
Things looked slicker and brighter in the Fifties Film-Noir's for better or worse, mostly worse. This is a Mid-Fifties entry that is relentlessly suspenseful with edge of your seat anticipation. Almost all Scenes are at night and the rain is constant making this forever trying to break out of that Eisenhower shine and it manages quite well.

Kim Novak debuting see-through and bra-less (at least in the first few scenes) is a honey of a trap and good but tainted (his parents did nothing but fight) Cop, Fred MacMurray is just too old and weary to resist such a young, beautiful Babe that also manages to be in proximity of a quarter Million unmarked.

This is not great Noir but a fine Character Study and while the Dialog is not as sharp as it could be, it nevertheless is engaging and just Hard-Boiled enough to pass. There is a bit of off-beat Voyeurism tamed by that Fifties (here we go again) softening of a "Girl next door" blossoming Romance, started by a perversion but redeemed and on its way to the White Picket Fence.
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Kim Novak & Dorothy Malone were Great
whpratt123 April 2008
Enjoyed this great classic film from 1954 starring Fred MacMurray, (Paul Sheridan) who is a detective and gets involved with Lona McLane,(Kim Novak) who is connected with a bank robber and Lona cons Paul to kill her boyfriend so they can take the money for themselves. The only problem is that Paul Sheridan is assigned to watch Lona on a stake out with other detectives and have her apartment watched and her telephone wires tapped. There are many problems that face Paul and Lona and one of Paul's detective friends gets involved with a girl named Ann Stewart, (Dorothy Malone) who lives in the same apartment house as Lona and lives down the hall. This story becomes quite exciting as a crooked cop tries to cover his tracks and makes mistakes after mistakes. Don't miss this Classic it is great with outstanding acting and a great cast of actors. Enjoy.
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No classic but a good noirish thriller nevertheless.
MOscarbradley8 November 2021
Riichard Quine was certainly no Billy Wilder and "Pushover" was a long way from "Double Indemnity" but perhaps someone somewhere had the idea that if they cast Fred MacMurray as the crooked cop who falls for gangster's moll Kim Novak, (in her debut), perhaps some of the old "Double Indemnity" magic might rub off. It didn't but this noirish crime film is still a very solid entertainment with a more than decent plot.

It might have been better, of course, had Novak a tenth of Stanwyck's talent or if it had a screenplay by someone like Chandler but on the plus side it did have a supporting cast that included Philip Carey, Dorothy Malone and E. G. Marshall and some first-rate cinematography from Lester White and if, fundamentally, it's a B-Movie it's a good one and MacMurray is always worth watching. No classic, then, (though it is quite highly thought of in some quarters), but a very enjoyable genre piece nevertheless.
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In some ways a perfect crime/noir film, though vaguely unoriginal, too.
secondtake18 May 2011
Pushover (1954)

An early widescreen black and white film noir gem. It comes late in the noir cycle but it crackles with precision and sharp acting. Though the details of the plot differ, it is an obvious echo of "Double Indemnity" with the leading man, played again by Fred MacMurray, sucked into a risky plot for big money and alluring love. And of course things don't go as planned.

MacMurray is an interesting choice in both films, because he really is more of an everyman than a noir type. Noir types are variable, I know, but you can range from Mitchum to Bogart to Dana Andrews to a whole bunch of minor actors who all have a kind of coolness or hardness to them, and you never see a regular fellow like MacMurray (the closest might be Mickey Rooney, of all people, in a neglected oddball noir, the 1950 "Quicksand"). MacMurray would later find his true calling as the dad in "My Three Sons" but when you see him in these early film roles there is something wrong and some perfect about his presence.

I don't mean to neglect the femme fatale here, a young Kim Novak, in her first full role. She's terrific, really, a bit cool (which was her style) but more convincing, to me, than her more famous appearance across from Sinatra in "Man with the Golden Arm." Maybe it's partly how well matched she is as an actress to MacMurray, though if there is a flaw to the film , it might be the unlikeness of these two falling in love, even with $210,000 to persuade them. But love is love and who's to say? The two of them, often playing in separate scenes (talking on the phone, or MacMurray watching her through binoculars), make this a full blooded drama as well as a crime noir.

The pace and editing of this movie, and the script and story, are perfect. It's easily the kind of film you could study for its structure, and for the writing, which isn't filled with noir doozies but with believable fast lines between two people looking to get through a growing debacle. It's a conventional structure, but its precision is comparable (for its precision) to "The Killing," that famous Stanley Kubrick film from 1956. And if it isn't as inventive, and if it lacks that amazing ending, "Pushover" is resilient because it is so reasonable. It could very well happen, and these relatively ordinary types (Novak being admired for her looks, but there are lots of lookers like her out there, especially gangster's girls) make it all the more compelling.

The filming is great, Lester White not known in particular in the cinematography world but shot a whole slew of decent and unamazing westerns (as well as the Ida Lupino "Women's Prison" which has it moments). Little known director Richard Quine made lots of lightweight and comic fare (he worked a bit with both Blake Edwards and Mickey Rooney, then later with Jack Lemmon) and this might be his most serious 1950s film, in tone. It's certainly the kind that you can't look away for a second because it clips along without a lull for an hour and a half.
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Policemen as peeping Toms getting into trouble with Kim Novak
clanciai14 June 2018
Fred MacMurray has an extraordinary way of always appearing stupidly out of place and rather awkward, no matter what he does, like almost a permanent loser, maybe because that's the kind of characters he was best at, like in "Double Indemnity". This is the same story but on a smaller scale, and the lady here is different, Kim Novak in her first appearance, and she makes the film. This is like an introduction and rehearsal for "Vertigo", but this is black and white, and there is some real shooting taking place, which doesn't stop at one murder. The main trouble with the film is that it's impossible to understand how Kim Novak can love Fred. Your bets will rather pile up with Plilip Carey as a much more convincing character - Fred is simply hopeless and almost cooked from the beginning. The other lady Dorothy Malone imports some refreshment by her straight personality, and you follow all her scenes with almost keener interest than Kim Novak's , since Dorothy's character is less predictable, and she ultimately does determine the course of the drama.

It's not a bad film, but Fred MacMurray will never become a favourite actor with anyone but rather constantly remain something of a bad joke of a stolid actor.
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Tight, one locale film noir
funkyfry3 October 2002
Tight, driven little peice of "film noir" with MacMurray as a good cop driven to distraction (and murder) by the gangester moll (Novak, in her film debut, somewhat more effective than usual) he's been assigned to spy on. Malone fills in for a charming bit as the girl-next-door who MacMurray's sidekick falls for. Typically, a mistake is made by the criminals, and they will pay for it, but they're having fun along the way. Some confusion in the script seems to have resulted in Novak's character turning somewhat sympathetic towards the ending, sounding a disingenuous note. Still, good solid bit of film.
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An effective little film
funkyfry29 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Tight, driven little piece of "film noir" with MacMurray as a good cop driven to distraction (and murder) by the ganster moll (Novak, in her film debut) he's been assigned to spy on. Malone fills in for a charming bit as the girl-next-door who MacMurray's sidekick falls for (she should have been allowed to steal the movie from the inadequate Novak, as well). Typically, a mistake is made by the criminals, and they WILL pay for it, but they're having fun along the way.

Some confusion in the script seems to have resulted in Novak's character turning sympathetic (to the audience) towards the end, sounding a disingenuous note (this kind of thing always smacks of studio interference when it concerns a new "star"). Still, good solid bit of film.
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Is it Over Yet?
arfdawg-110 November 2019
This movie is so excruciatingly slow that it's nearly unwatchable.

Fred Mac is dressed like Bogart but he's no Bogart. He's the Flubber guy.

Plus you are praying for him to get pushed over already. The writing is really pathetic -- and BTW the movie is short! Can't imagine what it would be ike at 2 hours!

I just really never connected to this flick.
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Kim Novak's first film, an excellent thriller
robert-temple-115 July 2008
This film is especially notable as being the first film of Kim Novak. She is already a sizzler, from her very first scenes. The camera loves her, and her career from this point on was inevitable. It was only the next year that she set all the men of America afire by her sensuous role in Bill Inge's 'Picnic', opposite William Holden. High cheekbones never hurt a gal in films, and as Kim Novak must be of Czech descent judging from her name, we have here the classic Slav look. It wasn't long before 'Vertigo' and by then, Kim Novak had become an icon, which she remains to this day. Fred MacMurray is the leading man in this film, excellent as usual but really too old for someone like Novak to fall in love with at first sight as called for in this story. Oh well, that's casting for you. Dorothy Malone appears in this as a sweetie. The film is gripping, at the tail end of noir, a mixture of crime, cops, and mystery. The post-War mood of sombre brooding is ending, things are lightening up a bit, and crime and corruption are no longer seen as an intrusive Dark Hand of Doom but as eruptions into daily life of natural human impulses of greed, lust, and evil, which are as spontaneous as barbecues are in summer in Texas. These things 'just happen', and an end of the world scenario of being engulfed by wickedness is now seen more prosaically as 'oh no, not another crook and another crime!' As crime keeps on happening, you kind of get used to it, and films like this take on an air of 'here we go again'. So it is no longer brooding atmosphere but gripping intrigue which makes the movies work by the mid-1950s.
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Unimpressive tale of police surveillance as crooked cop and femme fatale have little to do
Turfseer3 July 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Iconic actor Fred MacMurray seemed to have a penchant for playing the bad guy way before he became America's most loved TV dad in My Three Sons. His most notable bad guy part was Insurance Salesman Walter Neff in Double Indemnity, in which he engages in a conspiracy to murder his lover's husband. Here in Pushover he plays crooked cop Paul Sheridan who ends up murdering a criminal whom he's charged with apprehending and then accidentally shoots a fellow cop, also resulting in his death.

The film begins with a tense bank robbery in which a bank guard is murdered and $100,000 (equivalent to $1 million today) is stolen. The leader of the gang, Harry Wheeler (Paul Richards) is identified as the killer of the bank guard and a manhunt ensues. Soon Paul is tasked with meeting Wheeler's girlfriend Lona McLane (Kim Novak in her first film role) working undercover, but immediately gets romantically involved with her after he invites her over to his apartment.

A surveillance team is set up replete with a bugged phone line and tape recording device in the apartment building across the street from Lona. Paul and his partner Rick McAllister (Phillip Carey) are the principal cops assigned to the case. They watch Lona's movements using binoculars but Rick also takes an interest in Nurse Ann Stewart (Dorothy Malone) the woman living in the apartment next to Lona.

Novak as Lona has little to do in the film except act sexy when she behaves seductively toward Paul in the introductory first act. We expect some interaction between her and Wheeler but that never transpires, since Paul inexplicably decides to murder Wheeler who is in his custody while accompanied by another fellow cop Paddy Nolan (Allen Nourse). Paddy has a drinking problem and earlier that night left his post to get a drink in a nearby bar. Paul uses Paddy's indiscretion against him and swears him to secrecy after murdering Wheeler.

Paul's plan is to steal the bank loot and run off with Lona. This is the weakest part of the film as Paul's motivations are never explained and except for a simplistic explanation of mere greed, we never really get to know what makes him tick.

The plot picks up when Paddy pulls a gun on Paul, deciding not to cooperate with him after seeing through his plan to steal the stolen money. In a struggle inside a patrol car, Paddy's gun goes off and he's killed.

Paul's plan to steal the money is thwarted when earlier Ann is able to identify him after knocking on Lola's door to get some ice. It's Paul's bad luck to open the door just as he's leaving and Ann encounters him. Later, after Rick figures out that Paul shot Paddy, Paul takes Ann hostage and attempts to flee with her along with Lona in tow as well. You can guess it's Rick who saves Ann and wounds Paul, leading to his apprehension.

With a pretty much one-dimensional villain in the guise of a crooked cop and femme fatale whose part is woefully underwritten, Pushover only has a mildly interesting plot in the second half to keep it afloat. All in all, this rather clean looking noir packs little punch.
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Solid thriller melodrama!
RodrigAndrisan25 February 2021
Introducing Kim Novak! Very young and beautiful. And she did a good job. Her later roles will be better and better, very beautiful and very talented. Fred MacMurray, he never was my type, like nor were James Garner or Rock Hudson, I prefer Kirk Douglas, Walter Matthau and, of course, Marlon Brando. But he's convincing here as a dirty cop. He even manages to make you want him to run away with the money. But you know in advance that he will not succeed and that he will die. Although it's predictable, it's well done and worth watching. Richard Quine did a good job and he'll work again with Kim Novak in "Bell, Book And Candle" (1958), "Strangers When We Meet" (1960) and "The Notorious Landlady" (1962).
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Fred's fall guy reprise.
st-shot22 November 2019
Fred MacMurray clearly has not learned his lesson in Pushover where another fatale scrambles his brain and career with a promise of happily after after. While no Double Indemnity it is a more than passable suspense tightly edited with its fair share of tense moments.

After a huge bank haul cops put a 24/7 surveillance on the thief's moll Lona Mc Clane (Kim Novak). One of the squad, detective Sheridan (Mac Murray) gets too close however making him a "pushover " for the experienced Lona.

Released a month before Hitchcock's Rear Window, Pushover establishes a similar beach head with the cops observing from an apartment across the courtyard the comings and goings of Lona along with her neighbor, a nurse (Dorothy Malone) next door. The voyeuristic overtones are cleverly handled by director Richard Quine who economically leaves the uncouth to a couple of reliefs who have half a minute of screen time allowing Sheridan to focus on getting Lona out of her fix and his partner (Phil Carey) to carry on a chaste observation of the nurse next door.

Novak in her debut is surprisingly effective, especially when she has to get tough. Outstanding as he was in Double, MacMurray is miscast here, lacking the intensity of a more suitable Kirk Douglas. There is simply no passion in the clinches or spark in the coupling.

Quine keeps the pace and suspense at a decent pitch within the limited space of the apartment building but Sheridan's bungling towards the climax becomes far fetched as the film collapses under the weight of a mawkish poorly composed final scene.
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