Allied Artists Blogathon being hosted by Toby at 50 Westerns From the 50s. The blogathon will be held January 29-31, 2016. I've also written about QUANTRILL'S RAIDERS (1958) for the blogathon. Be sure to visit Toby's site for lots of interesting links to posts about Allied Artists movies!
It was love from the first stylish shots of the Allied Artists film noir LOOPHOLE (1954) -- wow, a Van De Kamp's Bakery, complete with windmill! The movie is packed with location shooting in the L.A. and Malibu areas, filmed in glorious black and white by William Sickner.
Actor-Writer Warren Douglas wrote the screenplay for LOOPHOLE; coincidentally Douglas also wrote the Western DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE (1957), an Allied Artists film I reviewed a few days ago, which had a great part for LOOPHOLE star Barry Sullivan.
In DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE Sullivan played a bad guy who turns out to have a good heart. In LOOPHOLE, Sullivan stars as Mike Donovan, a good guy persecuted as though he's bad.
Donovan, a WWII veteran, is the chief teller at a bank. One day when the bank examiners come for an audit, a ringer (Don Beddoe) sneaks in among the examiners, and he easily walks away with nearly $50,000.
As the bank is closing Friday afternoon, Mike can't get his account to balance, and as he frets over it, everyone else leaves for the weekend. He goes home without reporting the missing money, worrying over it all weekend, and first thing Monday he and his wife Ruthie (Dorothy Malone) go to his boss to tell him about the inexplicable loss. (There's something kind of quaint about the wife going along to discuss her husband's job problem with his boss...that struck me as a little odd, though needless to say this was a major problem and she wanted to support her husband.)
The boss believes Mike, but the bank's bond company puts a detective (Charles McGraw) on the case, and the detective refuses to believe that Mike is innocent. He hounds Mike incessantly, and when Mike loses his job, he makes sure Mike can't work anywhere else. (I've seen more than one reviewer compare McGraw's investigator to Inspector Javert! He's relentless...and clearly a disturbed man.) Mike and Ruthie lose their home, but they work together on their own to solve the mystery.
LOOPHOLE is a great-looking noir with a top cast; in addition to the fine trio of lead actors, Mary Beth Hughes appears as the femme fatale.
My only issue with the movie is that it's really difficult watching two nice people kicked, kicked again, and kicked some more. That aspect didn't make for relaxing viewing, especially as McGraw is so convincing as a dogged tormentor! His last shot in the movie is downright creepy.
I found a piece McGraw biographer Alan K. Rode wrote about LOOPHOLE, posted at Noir of the Week, and recommend it. It includes some background on the history of Allied Artists.
At the time Alan wrote the article, LOOPHOLE wasn't available on DVD. Happily LOOPHOLE is now available in a very nice-looking DVD print from the Warner Archive. There are no extras.
LOOPHOLE was directed by Harold D. Schuster. It runs 80 minutes.