A professional hitman is hired by a friend to commit two murders. His friend pays him off in what turns out to be stolen money, and the police soon trace the money to him. On the run, he ...
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A professional hitman is hired by a friend to commit two murders. His friend pays him off in what turns out to be stolen money, and the police soon trace the money to him. On the run, he kidnaps the girlfriend of the police detective in charge of his pursuit and threatens to kill her unless the hunt is called off.Written by
As B movies go, SHORT CUT TO HELL makes it pretty far. This is a tawdrier remake of Graham Greene's source novel for THIS GUN FOR HIRE with lower-rent sets, and lead actors less charismatic, but still very effective. In fact, it's the acting that most impresses about this odd little film. Robert Ivers embodies the diminutive, tightly wound hit-man pretty convincingly; his body language and hard-edged line deliveries are spot-on. Opposite him is Georgann Johnson, who has a disarming, natural acting style. The oil and water combination of these two sustains an interesting tension for the whole movie. Their first meeting aboard a train is a case in point: a very effectively played scene. Talented Johnson never made much of a mark until television later in the 50s and 60s. In the role of Bahrwell, Jacques Aubuchon is very well cast, as are Murvyn Vye and assorted other smaller roles, including Yvette Vickers and Douglas Spencer. Scarce prints of SHORT CUT TO HELL don't always include director James Cagney's spoken introduction and sometimes a jump cut suggests editorial trimming. A restored version of this film would do justice to Cagney's gift for directing actors and a couple of fine action sequences.
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