Odds Against Tomorrow
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Nerve-snapping tension, gritty style and an unsparing look at racial tension unite in this 'thunderbolt of a film (Los Angeles Examiner) from four-time OscarÂ(r) winner* Robert Wise and writers Abraham Polonsky and Nelson Gidding. Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters and EdBegley deliver 'superb (Hollywood Citizen Herald) performances in this absorbing'taut crime melodrama (Variety). One hundred and fifty thousand dollars, ready for the taking. It's too much to resist for bigoted ex-con Earl Slater (Ryan). He agrees to take part in a bank robbery with former cop Burke (Begley)but hesitates when he finds out that one of his partners (Belafonte) is black. As tensions mount and the men get closer to their biggest score ever, Earl's hatred erupts, resulting in violent consequences for the heist and their lives. *1965: Best Picture, Director, The Sound of Music; 1961: Best Picture, Director (with Jerome Robbins), West Side Story
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The film also should have recognized as the one of the best films of its director, Robert Wise. Wise, always had been an innovative film maker, was successful making many of his films efficiently memorable. His ingenuity was well used for ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW. Joseph Brun's beautiful B&W photography is forcefully astonishing, sharp editing is stunning, use of John Lewis' jazz score is cool, and characters' melancholic mood is perfectly suited to lead us into the grim, nihilistic, yet very poetic noir environment. The technical merits are very high, and not only that, you cannot ignore the artistic value of the film. Wise carefully assembled each scenes with aesthetic compositions and connected the scenes with provocatively irregular, yet breathtakingly dynamic rhythm.
Players were perfectly chosen too. Robert Ryan, Harry Belafonte, Ed Begley, Shelley Winters, and Gloria Grahame are all wonderful. Espesially, Ryan proves himself again as an effecive noir anti-hero as he was in THE SET-UP, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, or INFERNO. He succeeded to inject urgent pain of a troubled man who feels fear, hate, loneliness, and possibly a little hope. Begley is also great. His presence and forceful manner is another key to the films dynamism.
Whole thing is undeniably stylish due to the technical out put and highly professional cinematic senses from whom all concerned. All together, ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW should be remembered as one of the most artistic contribution for the film noir genre, as well as one of the masterworks from the great director, Robert Wise.
P.S. I believe that the woman behind the bar in the jazz club is a young Cicely Tyson.
From what I've read it's of the "film noir" variety and kind of a commentary / theme on racism-which it is and does.
Where I differ, the filming itself threw my whole take on this movie. Kind of like the "carousel scene" -the kids in the beginning seem to more circle float in. The facial shots / expressions effects. Other things too lighting and angles with the streets and stuff. Very subtle but pretty interesting effects really added to the movie.
Looked more like an aside jazz take on life than anything "noir" or good vs. evil or racism commentary. I love it for that get a kick out of it every time i see it.
BUT - to be on the safe side figure i'm wrong, check other reviews. Treat my review as an idle curiosity, something to try looking for after seeing it a few times. If anyone else sees it great some pretty amazing film work.
If not then fine, it's just like others have described.