Watched: May 13 2018
Director: Robert Wise
Starring: Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters, Gloria Grahame, Ed Begley
Runtime: 1h 36min
Ex-cop Dave Burke (Begley) hires two men to carry out a robbery. Both Earle Slater (Ryan) and Johnny Ingram (Belafonte) are debt-ridden, and they are promised the neat sum of $50 000 each for the job.
Slater is a big, stinking racist, and is not happy working with Ingram who is black. Ingram himself is trying to stay on the straight and narrow, but has a gambling problem and owes a baddie $7500. Burke, the sly mo-fo, pulls strings to pressure the men and make sure he gets the crew he wants. Soon the three are preparing to rob a small bank.
As with all (or at least most) daring capers, despite their prep work and good planning, things go awry. This time though, it’s not because of a Dame or unplanned events, but because of Slater’s racism.
Odds Against Tomorrow is a very good and suspenseful noir with intriguing characters and a fantastic soundtrack. Johnny, though by no means perfect, is infinitely more likable than little bitch Slater, who is passive aggressive with his girlfriend Lorry (Winters) and plain aggressive with everyone else. That being said, he too shows vulnerability and humanity at times, and he is disillusioned and angry after a hard life.
It’s a caper movie, but it focuses a lot on the characters and what drives them, rather than the heist itself, though that too is tense and exciting. The ending (which we won’t reveal completely) is heavily symbolic and reminiscent of (slight spoiler alert!) White Heat, and we absolutely loved it! A great, late film noir.
What we learned: All men are evil. Also, racism has no place in a heist.
Next time: Rio Bravo (1959)