The Conversation

'Loophole' (1954) Review: Why God Invented Warner Archive

Friday afternoon I wrote a Conversation piece about how my general love of movies was stoked by a couple of treasures sitting on my desk just waiting to be opened. One of those was the Warner Archive title "Loophole" (1954), which stars Barry Sullivan, Dorothy Malone, and The Mighty Charles McGraw.

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As high as my hopes were, director Harold Schuster's "Loophole"  more than lived up to them. Barry Sullivan is Mike Donovan, an everyday fifties businessman who works as a bank teller at the Hollywood branch. An ingenious robbery leaves  him almost $50,000 short at the end of the day, and his own bad judgment in how handles the shortage only compounds his problems.

Before long, Donovan's lost his job and finds himself hounded by Gus Slavin (McGraw), the investigator working for the bonding company responsible for making up the $50,000 shortfall. Slavin is certain Donovan is guilty and puts the screws to his life in every way imaginable in the hopes his prey will give up and hand over the loot.

While I didn't really buy the ending, that hardly mattered. The story is superbly constructed and acted, and the on-location photography around a small-townish Hollywood that no longer exists is a big unexpected plus.

For someone like myself who has pretty much seen every studio-era film already available, "Loophole" is the kind of undiscovered gem that makes Warner Archive such a vital service.  

 

"Loophole" is available at Warner Archive.


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