Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Rogue Cop (1954)

Robert Taylor is excellent in the title role as ROGUE COP, an engrossing film noir from MGM. Taylor's Chris Kelvaney is a police detective on the take who is caught between a rock and a hard place when his underworld boss (George Raft) puts a hit out on Kelvaney's kid brother Eddie (Steve Forrest). Like his older brother, Eddie is a cop, but he refuses to be bought.

The film grabs the viewer's attention immediately, as the opening credits roll while police are shown at work, without any soundtrack music. Taylor is sometimes known as a rather stoic actor, but he conveys a world of emotions as the weary, guilt-ridden cop who realizes too late he chose the wrong way to get ahead. I've developed quite a liking for Taylor, who was also excellent in WESTWARD THE WOMEN and SADDLE THE WIND, both reviewed here earlier this year.

Janet Leigh plays the woman with a past who is loved by Eddie but who in turn finds herself attracted to Chris. ROGUE COP was Janet Leigh's last movie under contract to MGM. In her autobiography she wrote that Robert Taylor was "a beautiful man, always modest and self-effacing."

The deep supporting cast includes Anne Francis playing Raft's alcoholic mistress. Vince Edwards, Olive Carey, Alan Hale, Jr., Russell Johnson, Ray Teal, Roy Barcroft, Richard Deacon, and Carleton Young also appear in the film.

This 92-minute movie was directed by Roy Rowland. John F. Seitz received an Academy Award nomination for his black and white photography.

ROGUE COP is not yet available on DVD or VHS. This relatively overlooked title really deserves to be in the next film noir set from Warners. Vote here to indicate interest in a DVD release.

ROGUE COP can be seen on cable on TCM.

The trailer can be seen here.

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