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A boozy old reporter finds his life is falling apart around him. He loses his wife and then his job. He is dragged back to reality when his son needs help. He goes to ask for his old job back but finds his old boss dead in the office ... Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
In Kill Me Tomorrow it was Pat O'Brien's turn to be an American actor who was past his prime as a leading man in the states to turn up in a British feature film. The idea was to give it greater marketability in the States. I well remember seeing a lot of these type of films as the bottom half of doublebills in my neighborhood movie theater.
O'Brien who had done a lot of noir type features in America fits comfortably with the genre in the UK. Even his Irish countenance is hardly out of place as so many Irish people from Ulster and from the Republic were living and working in Great Britain.
O'Brien is an alcoholic reporter working for a Fleet Street paper run by editor Ronald Adam. Adam's lost patience with O'Brien, a year before Pat's wife was killed in an automobile accident that he caused driving drunk. Now he's got a second piece of bad news, his son is ill with a tumor behind an eye and needs one quick operation from a specialist in Switzerland. A thousand pounds would cover it.
Ronald Adam has bigger fish to fry than O'Brien's problems. He's running an expose on some criminal rackets in London headed by George Coulouris. A stoolie after giving information to Adam is murdered and Coulouris and assorted hoods come calling. Adam winds up shot and then O'Brien arrives and Adam gives a dying declaration as to who did it.
But Pat's concern is the boy and he makes an unusual bargain with Coulouris. For a thousand pounds, he'll take the fall for him and confess to the murder.
I have to say that this was one of the more unusual plot twists in a film I've ever seen and for that reason it rates a cut above your average noir film. The production values were adequate, no more than that, the players gave a good account of themselves. Lois Maxwell soon to be Ms. Moneypenny in a few years is Adam's niece and even though she sees O'Brien with gun in hand leaving the premises and calls Scotland Yard, she still believes in him.
In fact the scheme is badly thought out, but it was thought out by a desperate man. A timeline and forensics shoot O'Brien's confession full of holes, but he insists on playing it his way as movie favorites do.
Two interesting people have small roles in Kill Me Tomorrow. One is former Light Heavyweight Champion Freddie Mills, a sports hero in the British Isles plays one of Coulouris's thugs. Mills met a tragic end a few years later, a suicide that some think was murder.
The other person was Great Britain's first rock and roll star Tommy Steele. He sings one of his early hits Rebel Rock in a coffee bar that Coulouris owns and is the headquarters for his enterprises. Tommy is not one of the crooks however. Having seen a more mature Steele in Half A Sixpence, Finian's Rainbow, and The Happiest Millionaire, it was interesting to see him in his rock and roll roots. I shouldn't actually say that because Steele as a performer would have been right at home in the British Music Hall Theater and has been for most of his career. He's got an infectious personality and style that has made me one of his biggest fans.
So while O'Brien is in the film for the American market, I've no doubt that Kill Me Tomorrow did well at the British box office with Tommy Steele performing. Kill Me Tomorrow is a good B noir thriller that could hold its own with America's product.
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