Odds Against Tomorrow

This ambitious but mainly unsuccessful 1959 black-and-white heist thrillera loose adaptation of a John P. McGivern novel that is credited to John O. Killens and Nelson Gidding but partly written by blacklisted writer Abraham Polonskyfounders on allegorical positioning, although the location photography of Manhattan and upstate New York has its moments. Three desperate individuals (producer Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Ed Begley) plan to rob a small-town bank, and the racial conflict between the first two threatens to gum up the operations. Begley, in some ways the most interesting member of the trio, is sadly the least explored, and the jazz score by John Lewis and the roles played by Shelley Winters and Gloria Grahame mainly represent other missed opportunities. Jean-Pierre Melville worshipped this film, though I’m not clear why. Robert Wise directed. 95 min. (JR)

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