PUSHOVER: stealing the girl from the crook and the loot from the cops

Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak in PUSHOVER

Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak in PUSHOVER

Tracking a notorious criminal, the cop (Fred MacMurray) in Pushover (1954) follows – and then dates – the gangster’s girlfriend (“Introducing Kim Novak”) as part of the job, but then falls for her himself. He decides that, if he can double cross BOTH the cops and the criminal, he can wind up with the loot AND Kim Novak. (This is a film noir, so we know he’s not destined for a tropical beach with an umbrella drink.)

The U-shaped configuration of apartments – Novak’s, her neighbor Dorothy Malone’s and the cops’ stakeout surveillance apartment – leads to plenty of suspense as MacMurray tries to dodge most of the other characters. It’s all set in an LA where the Los Angeles City Hall dominates the skyline, but where it’s rainy at the climax.  (How else can someone end up bleeding face down in a wet gutter?)

The acting is excellent, with fine supporting turns by Philip Carey, E.G. Marshall and Malone. It’s an excellent film noir.

Pushover is available on DVD from Netflix and plays on Turner Classic Movies.

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