Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) is a bitch-and-towel slappin violent anti-social criminal psychopath flashback murder courtroom film noir with the king of the noir loons himself James Cagney as a no nonsense violent career criminal en route to hell.

Ralph Cotter, a hardened criminal with a penchant for violence, embarks on a harrowing journey of deceit and betrayal after a daring prison escape turns deadly. 

The death of his escape partner, Carleton, at his own hands sets the stage for a twisted game of manipulation and obsession. Is the love between brother and sister greater than that between gangster and long-suffering moll?

As Cotter insinuates himself into the life of Carleton's unsuspecting sister, Holiday, a dark and disturbing dynamic emerges — a typical web of desire and domination, where passion and pain collide in a volatile mix of emotion. 

Their sadomasochistic bond is laid bare in a chilling scene where Cotter's brutality is met with Holiday's fervent embrace — a stark portrayal of the depths of their depravity. They are American. They are you.

But Cotter's descent into darkness is far from over. As he delves deeper into the criminal underworld, he finds himself entangled in a web of corruption and deceit, where the line between predator and prey becomes increasingly blurred. The discovery of his betrayal by the very authorities he sought to manipulate only serves to fuel his thirst for revenge.

Neville Brand and James Cagney work County Farm in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Neville Brand in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Unarmed... He's dangerous. Armed... He's Lethal.

As only James Cagney can portray it!

The whole blistering story of the crimson-stained career of Ralph Cotter, thug with a heart... of ice!

Yet, amidst the chaos and carnage, a new temptation emerges in the form of a wealthy young heiress—a seductive siren whose allure threatens to unravel Cotter's carefully laid plans. And when Holiday learns the truth about her brother's fate and Cotter's betrayal, her fury knows no bounds, plunging them both into a maelstrom of violence and despair.

James Cagney in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

In the end, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a nasty ass tale of crime and consequence, where the darkest impulses of the human psyche collide with devastating effect, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. By 1950 moviemakers were consciously able to force some noir out of their guts, and make their films as bad as they craved, having developed a language to conceal a lot of that.

This vigorous and unflinching crime drama, adapted from Horace McCoy's pen and brought to the screen by the somewhat problematic script of Harry Brown, crackles with intensity under the direction of Gordon M. Douglas. Douglas, known for his directorial prowess in films like Come Fill the Cup and Only the Valiant, keeps the pace relentless, the violence raw, and the cynicism palpable, allowing James Cagney to channel his earlier White Heat persona as a remorseless, cold-blooded killer.

James Cagney at the store in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

James Cagney, in a tour de force performance, embodies the role of Ralph Cotter—a man whose escape from a prison work farm leaves a trail of bloodshed in its wake. With the aid of a fellow inmate and a reluctant accomplice, Ralph dives headfirst into a world of crime and deceit, dragging those around him into the maelstrom of his violent schemes.

As the tension mounts and the stakes escalate, Ralph's unhinged brutality knows no bounds. His manipulative charm draws Holiday Carleton, portrayed with captivating complexity by Barbara Payton, into his orbit, even as his violent outbursts drive fear into the hearts of those around him.

James Cagney in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

But Ralph's luck begins to unravel when he crosses paths with crooked cops and underworld figures, each seeking to exploit his criminal prowess for their own gain. Yet, true to form, Ralph turns the tables on his would-be exploiters, orchestrating a deadly game of cat and mouse that leaves no room for mercy.

With a supporting cast including Ward Bond, Barton MacLane, and Luther Adler, each bringing their own brand of intensity to the proceedings, "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" is a relentless descent into the heart of darkness—a film that pulls no punches in its exploration of greed, betrayal, and the twisted allure of power.

Yet, for all its cinematic brilliance, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye courted controversy upon its release, banned in the very state where its gritty narrative unfolds. A testament to its unflinching portrayal of human depravity and moral decay, this is a film that leaves an indelible mark on the psyche, long after the credits have rolled.

Ralph Cotter, portrayed with unbridled intensity by James Cagney, emerges from the shadows of confinement, embarking on a daring escape fueled by desperation and a thirst for vengeance. With the reluctant aid of his accomplices—Jinx, played with gritty determination by Steve Brodie, and the unwitting Holiday Carleton, portrayed with haunting vulnerability by Barbara Payton—Cotter sets in motion a ruthless reign of crime and chaos.

James Cagney in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

As Cotter navigates the treacherous waters of the criminal underworld, he wields evidence of Inspector Charles Weber's corruption as a shield, weaving a tangled web of deceit and manipulation. Enter "Cherokee" Mandon, brought to life with suave sophistication by Luther Adler, whose legal prowess becomes Cotter's last line of defense against the encroaching forces of justice.

But amidst the chaos and carnage, a seductive siren beckons—a rich heiress with a wild streak, portrayed with captivating allure by Helena Carter. As Cotter's world spirals ever deeper into darkness, the allure of Margaret Dobson threatens to become his undoing.

Barbara Payton and James Cagney in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

It is the performances of this reasonable ensemble cast that attempts to raise Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye to the echelons of cinematic excellence. Cagney's portrayal of Cotter is a tour de force, a masterclass in menace and unpredictability, while Payton's portrayal of Holiday is a haunting depiction of shattered innocence. Supported by a roster of talent including Ward Bond, Rhys Williams, and Steve Brodie, the film crackles with tension and intensity and intense tension, well maybe, it is not the greatest of all cinematic achievements, and we must not get carried away, even if AI is writing this article.

Luther Adler in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Ward Bond in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

In the end, it is the relentless pursuit of power and desire that drives Cotter and his cohorts to their inevitable reckoning—a thrilling descent into the heart of darkness, propelled by the magnetic performances of its stellar cast.

Ralph Cotter: And now, would one fugitive from justice care to fix another fugitive from justice... a sandwich?



Holiday Carleton: He's too smart for you!

Ralph Cotter: Oh no, he stopped being smart when he took my money.



Ralph Cotter: Why, I thought you were the law-abiding type.

Holiday Carleton: I guess I'm just whatever you make me.

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye emerges from the shadows of cinematic history as a film both lauded and lambasted, its narrative landscape a veritable labyrinth of intrigue and controversy. 

Directed by Gordon Douglas, a filmmaker whose career trajectory spanned from the heights of Hollywood's golden era to the depths of B-movie obscurity, this noir offering stands as a testament to his directorial acumen, even as it grapples with its own narrative complexities.

The film's courtroom framing device, a curious departure from the gritty underworld it ultimately explores, sets the stage for a tale of moral ambiguity and existential reckoning. As the district attorney's impassioned accusations echo the fervor of McCarthyism's dark shadow, we are drawn into a world where the lines between justice and corruption blur with unsettling ease.

Barbara Payton in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Amidst this moral maelstrom, the figure of Cherokee Mandon, portrayed with a certain ongoing intensity by Luther Adler, emerges as a beacon of complexity—a man both corrupt and calm, navigating the treacherous waters of the criminal underworld with a chilling elegance. 

His courtroom exchange, a subtle dance of insinuation and intrigue, hints at a deeper subversion at play—a subtle critique of the very system it purports to uphold.

Ward Bond in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Yet, it is in the character of Holiday, transformed from McCoy's original vision of feminine aggression to a tragic figure of innocence, that the film's true narrative departure lies. Through her harrowing journey from defiance to submission, we are confronted with the darker realities of power and control — a Peckinpah-esque descent into the abyss of human depravity.

As the plot unfolds, weaving a tapestry of betrayal and retribution, we are drawn ever deeper into a world where morality is a shifting landscape and justice a fragile illusion. In the end, "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" stands as a testament to the enduring power of cinema to provoke, to challenge, and to confront the darkest recesses of the human psyche.

More than a last hurrah for film noir Cagney, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) evolves hard into something that looks to the future where cinema is going to be violent in every direction, a kind of battlement-peering noir which struggles against its era.

Upon which note it shipped into 1950 with the following taglines:

Unarmed... He's dangerous. Armed... He's Lethal.

As only James Cagney can portray it!

The whole blistering story of the crimson-stained career of Ralph Cotter, thug with a heart... of ice!


Danger, anger and regret with Barbara Payton in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) at Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment