"Introducing Kim Novak." What else do you need to know? After a short stint as "Miss Deepfreeze," a spokeswoman-character for a refrigerator company, the 21-year old aspiring actress and future Vertigo ice goddess was snatched up by Harry Cohn and immediately plunked down in a starring role in 1954's Pushover. The film, which was screened last week as part of Film Forum's ongoing B-Noir festival, is best described as a re-imagining of the popular Double Indemnity story. In the original, Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck conspired to defraud an insurance company. Their ace in the hole was that MacMurray was an insurance man himself, and thought he could game the system. In Pushover, MacMurray and Novak conspire to double-cross a thief who's just knocked over a bank. Their ace in the hole is that MacMurray is a bank robbery detective, and thinks he can game the system. Novak plays the bank robber's girlfriend, tucked away in a posh apartment and waiting patiently for her man to breeze back into town. MacMurray and his partner Rick (Phil Carey) watch her every move from a stakeout nest in a motel across the street. Rick is initially skeptical that the bank robber would take the chance of coming back into town with all that money, just to pick up his girlfriend. Then he raises his binoculars and looks across the way at Novak for the first time: "Yep, he'll show up."

categories Cinematical