This week’s mystery movie was the 1954 Columbia film “Pushover,” with Fred MacMurray, Phil Carey, Kim Novak (her film debut), Dorothy Malone, E.G. Marshall and Allen Nourse.
Screenplay by Roy Huggings, based on stories by Thomas Walsh and William S. Ballinger, gowns by Jean Louis, photography by Lester H. White, art direction by Walter Holscher, film editing by Jerome Thoms, set decoration by James Crowe, makeup by Clay Campbell, hairstyles by Helen Hunt, associate producer Philip A. Waxman, music conducted by Morris Stoloff and musical score by Arthur Morton. Produced by Jules Schermer, directed by Richard Quine.
Writing in the New York Times (July 31, 1954) H.H.T. said:
Fred MacMurray is going through the motions of his “Double Indemnity” role in a mild facsimile of that ice-cold masterpiece called “Pushover.” Title notwithstanding, the task wasn’t easy. Again, as a solid citizen who abruptly murders for money and a sultry blonde, the actor and a newcomer named Kim Novak are running a generally similar course and, naturally, paying the piper.
Viewed strictly on is own, as it should be, this modest Columbia melodrama is a creditable job for about half the time….
Drawn into the conspiracy, an innocent cop tilts the apple cart (Murder No. 2) and Mr. MacMurray meets his doom through a series of pat and circumstantial happenings, as the picture transparently slopes downhill to justice triumphant. Fair enough, certainly….
In contrast to the wide-eyed, undulating Miss Novak, who so obediently hangs on to her lover’s coattails, “Double Indemnity” provided Barbara Stanwyck as much more of a person and one of the meanest killers in screen annals. In addition to its Swiss watch construction, the predecessor dared to have the two disenchanted criminals squaring off fatally.
At any rate, Mr. MacMurray’s present solo is a respectable one. We can still hear Miss Stanwyck reminding him through clenched teeth, “Don’t you ever forget we’re in this thing together — straight down the line.”
For Monday, we have a mysterious gunman and a mysterious officer who does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Robert Stevenson, left, and K.L. Smith.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent.
Update: This is Paul Richards, and yes he is a mystery guest emeritus from “Tall Man Riding.”
For Wednesday, we have a mystery gent in …. wow look at those lapels.
Update: This is Allen Nourse.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (Tuesday’s mystery gent), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery gent), Sarah (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery bank guard and Tuesday’s mystery gent).
For Thursday, we have a mystery photo emerita….
Oh, OK. Here she is with a mystery gent and Back Of The Head Guy.
Update: This is Phil Carey, Dorothy Malone and Paul Picerni in the pivotal role of Back of the Head Guy. A mystery guest emerita, Malone also appeared (with Paul Richards) in “Tall Man Riding.”
Brain Trust roll call: L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast) and Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery gents.
For Friday, we have the absent-minded mystery guest and two mystery companions.
Update: This is Dorothy Malone, Fred MacMurray and the young, lovely Kim Novak.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery bank guard, Tuesday’s mystery holdup guy, and Thursday’s mystery guests), David Inman (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Don Danard (Thursday’s mystery woman emerita), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Benito (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Sylvia E. (Monday’s mystery bank guard, Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy).
Note to Mary Mallory: You’re right! Back of the Head Guy is too short to be You Know Who.