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A Life in the Balance (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 1 July 1955 (USA)
In Mexico City, a working-poor single-father is mistaken for a serial killer by the local cops but the man's son stumbles upon the real killer and tries to warn the police after being abducted.

Directors:

Harry Horner, Rafael Portillo (co-director)

Writers:

Robert Presnell Jr. (screenplay), Leo Townsend (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ricardo Montalban ... Antonio Gómez
Anne Bancroft ... María Ibinia
Lee Marvin ... The Killer
José Pérez José Pérez ... Paco Gómez (as Jose Perez)
Rodolfo Acosta ... Lt. Fernando
Carlos Múzquiz Carlos Múzquiz ... Capt. Saldana (as Carlos Muzquiz)
Jorge Treviño Jorge Treviño ... Sergeant (as Jorge Trevino)
José Torvay ... Andrés Martínez (as Jose Torvay)
Eva Calvo Eva Calvo ... Carla Arlota
Fanny Schiller ... Carmen Martínez
Tamara Garina Tamara Garina ... Doña Lucrecia
Pascual García Peña Pascual García Peña ... Porter (as Pascual G. Pena)
Tony Carbajal Tony Carbajal ... Pedro (as Antonio Carbajal)
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Storyline

Antonio Gomez, a nearly down-and-out musician, is a widower with a young boy, Paco. Fighting to support his boy in the face of unemployment and neighbors who want custody of his son (something that here in Mexico City they might just obtain), Gomez argues with an ex-girlfriend over money she owes him. After he leaves, the girlfriend is murdered by the religious-fanatic serial killer terrorizing the city. When neighbors report the argument Gomez had with the dead girl, the police presume they are finally on the hot trail of the serial killer, and Gomez is their target. Gomez goes out to a pawnshop to buy his son a long-dreamed-of guitar and there meets a young woman with whom he goes looking for his son. What Gomez does not realize is that a police dragnet is closing in on him and that his boy Paco actually witnessed this most recent murder and has been trailing the killer. It's not long, though, before the killer is trailing the boy. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In The Shadow Of The Knife... They Formed A Strange Alliance! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Mexico | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 July 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

7 Rue Pigalle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
a night in Mexico City
22 October 2009 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

A serial killer (Lee Marvin) has Mexico City in a state of unease as he stabs his young female victims and leaves them with their arms folded. It's a bizarre part for Marvin and he does it perhaps like no one has ever seen him. He kidnaps the only witness to his last deed, an eleven year old boy, who is forced to accompany him over the course of a night in which one scene has them in church and Marvin is praying and asking God who he should kill next while the boy watches him and looks for a way to escape. The boy's father (Ricardo Montalban) is widowed and an unemployed musician, and the neighbors who live next door are angling to take the boy away from him due to his lack of money and instability. Montalban is OK in the film, but the emergence of Anne Bancroft as another out of work and broke character, whom he meets in a pawn shop run by the mean and greedy Dona Lucrecia, is quite interesting. As Marvin is on the run with the boy, night becomes morning, and the police dragnet is closing in. The film is a decent balance of the two strands, the fight over the boy and Marvin's psycho serial killer. The boy's character brings them (the two strands) together fairly well as the night unfolds and the police eventually close in.


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