Tight Spot (1955) Phil Karlson
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III DVD (1:37)
It seems odd that a play which ran for only 21 performances on Broadway would get the green light for a movie starring Ginger Rogers and Edward G. Robinson, but that’s what happened with Tight Spot. Based on the 1953 play Dead Pigeon by Lenard Kantor, Tight Spot is another “protect the witness long enough for her to testify” movie, this time with a female prison inmate and former model Sherry Conley (Ginger Rogers) willing to expose mobster Benjamin Costain (Lorne Greene) in front of a jury.
Costain has successfully silenced other potential witnesses and looks to take care of Sherry in the same way, but this time U.S. attorney Lloyd Hallett (Edward G. Robinson) and police detective Lieutenant Vince Striker (Brian Keith) have Sherry safely stored away and guarded on the top floor of a downtown hotel. Or so they think.
It soon becomes clear after a tension-filled opening that the bulk of the film is going to stay true to its stage roots with most of the running time taking place in Sherry’s hotel room. Sherry and Striker banter back and forth for what seems an eternity and although these exchanges help convey character and tension, they go on for far too long. Rogers seems an odd choice for the role of Sherry, yet she does a great job with the part. But this is a Phil Karlson movie, so we’re guaranteed to see some pretty good action sequences, which we do. Definitely worth checking out.
Next: Before they worked together as Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, Jack Webb and Harry Morgan starred in this film noir…
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