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on 23 July 2009
Excellent, very tough and violent crime movie with Cagney on top form as the brutal, merciless thug coming up against Ward Bond's equally vicious corrupt police detective. There's hardly a sympathetic character in sight as Cagney, beats, shoots and generally brutalises everyone who stands in his way.
One moment that made me laugh however - at one point Cagney gets married and we see him and his bride in her room, in her home on their wedding night - in seperate single beds! The Hollywood prodution code sure had some funny ideas about acceptable human behaviour! OK so people can kill in cold blood, beat, cripple and maim but have a couple share a bed together...
Nevertheless a great, entirely cynical movie. Highly recommended
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 August 2011
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is directed by Gordon Douglas and adapted to screenplay by Harry Brown from the novel by Horace McCoy. It stars James Cagney, Barbara Payton, Helena Carter, Ward Bond, Luther Adler and Steve Brodie. Music is by Carmen Dragon and photography by J. Peverell Marley.

Ralph Cotter (Cagney), career criminal, escapes from prison and crudely murders his partner during the escape. Hooking up with Holiday Carleton (Payton), the oblivious sister of the slain partner, Cotter quickly gets back into a life of crime and violence. But will his evil deed stay a secret? How long can he keep the corrupt coppers under wraps? And is his "other" romantic relationship with Margaret Dobson (Carter) doomed to failure? ......

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, it seems to have been lost in the slipstream of White Heat that was released the previous year. An undoubted classic of the gangster/crime genre, and featuring one of Cagney's greatest acting performances, White Heat has unsurprisingly dwarfed many a poor genre entry. However, while it doesn't equal the searing ferocity of White Heat, both in tone and character performance by Cagney, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a seriously hard movie. Energetic from the off, film is often brutal and cynical and awash with potently memorable scenes, with some deemed as being too much, resulting in the film being banned from theatres in Ohio!

Female or a cripple, it matters not to the menacing force of nature that is Ralph Cotter.

Gordon Douglas was a multi genre director, unfussy and able to keep things taut, he gets some super performances from the cast while never letting the pace drag. Cagney is a given, give him this sort of character and let him run with it, in fact it is arguably a detriment to the film as a whole, that it can't match Cagney's blood and thunder show? But Bond (big bad corrupt copper), Brodie (Cotter side-kick) and Adler (shifty lawyer) do shine through with imposing turns.

Of much interest is the dual lady characters in Cotter's life. Both very different from each other, this gives the film a double whammy of femme fatales in waiting. Payton takes the honours, in what is the best written part in the film. Her Holiday Carleton is a good girl drawn in to a murky life by a bad man, while Carter as bored rich girl Margaret Dobson is the polar opposite, she likes fast cars and dangerous men, allowing the actress to deftly sidle in with impact in the smaller role.

Photography isn't out of the ordinary, and the music is standard boom and bluster for a crime picture. But this is about Cagney's performance and the grim thematics contained within, and much like Ralph Cotter, it doesn't pull its punches. Finally sealing the deal with an ending that firmly pulls the movie into the film noir universe. 8/10
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on 8 August 2012
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (Gordon Douglas, 1950, 102')

A film noir starring James Cagney and Barbara Payton, directed by the novel by Horace McCoy. The film was banned in Ohio as "a sordid, sadistic presentation of brutality and an extreme presentation of crime with explicit steps in commission." Supporting Cagney are Luther Adler as a crooked lawyer, Ward Bond and Barton MacLane as two crooked cops, and Cagney's brother William (who produced the film) as Ralph Cotter's brother.

Ralph Cotter is a career criminal who escapes from prison, then murders his partner in crime. Along the way he attempts to woo his ex-partner's sister (Payton) by threatening to expose her role in his escape. Cotter quickly gets back into the crime business, only to be shaken down by corrupt local cops.

The film, often compared unfavorably to White Heat, received mixed reviews. Fred Camper, film critic for The Chicago Reader, called the film mis-directed, writing, "Gordon Douglas's direction is almost incoherent compared to Raoul Walsh's in White Heat (1949), which features Cagney in a similar role; the compositions and camera movements, while momentarily effective, have little relationship to each other, and the film reads a bit like an orchestra playing without a conductor." (All above from Wikipedia)

Not having seen the White Heat yet, I can't comment on that comparison. The film, to me, has the average high speed of Cagney acting/no prisoners made style. That he should finally be shot by a woman remotely reminds of Grace Kelly's unplanned intervention in High Noon: When men get too childish, it is a woman who sets things right again, an old motif in Westerns, but not only there.

126 - Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (Gordon Douglas, 1950, 102') - 8/8/2012
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on 26 June 2014
After completing a semi~successful prison break, Ralph Cotter, the surviving escapee, decides he's going to put to good use his criminal know how and take what he wants from the city he's hiding in.
At first this appears like it might be a rather tall order, with the underbelly of the city home to some very dog eat dog characters, but as he begins to take more risks, things begin to pay off.
However as his lust for power, selfishness and psychotic reasoning, further alienate those closest to him, it is not long before his past actions start to take their toll, with an ever increasing danger...

I'd never seen this before I don't think, and on that basis, I'm gonna say that this is a slightly lesser known but nevertheless top drawer Cagney movie, up there with some of his best gangster stuff (Roaring Twenties, White Heat, The Public Enemy, Angels With Dirty Faces etc etc). It's quite a violent film for 1950, with Cagney's villain acting on his vicious impulses time and time again, dominating and using those around him, as he chances his way to the top.
And although I am no psychiatrist, I suspect that if you were to take the term 'psychopath' in it's true sense or medical definition, Cagney probably nails it with his character here perfectly!
The support cast are very decent too, with several of them ideal for their roles. Ward Bond as the corrupt police inspector, is just great.
Of course some of the character actions seem a little dated, with Cagney's single bed wedding night, a prime example.
But for all it's odd moments of unrealistic plotting or character behaviour, by the end of the film (and I'm trying hard not to give anything away here!), I was that engrossed, that I think I issued an audible sigh of relief when 'that revolver' actually worked..

The Cornerstone Media print is certainly watchable, a little soft here and there, with the occasional green tinge, but generally speaking no major problems.

4.5/5
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on 11 July 2014
One of my favourite films of all time is Cagney's "White Heat", When I say that this is, in a similar vein, nearly as good it's the highest compliment I can pay. A forgotten classic.
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on 31 May 2013
This was a hell of a film for the day. This is not a typical cheesy 30's or 40's film, it does have some real strong moments, not to mention (James Cagney's) performance. Made up this finally came out on DVD, it's been a long time since I seen it.

Worth getting whether your a JC fan or just want to see a classic film to add to you're collection.
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on 11 January 2012
great movie; shows James Cagney at his best as a gangster part; I give it 5 stars; I purchase all his DVDs as well as Humphrey Bogart; James Stewart & Cary Grant all the old Movies.
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on 17 January 2013
if you like classic black & white films this is great, its gritty and has an ending i wasnt expecting, well worth seeing if your a James Cagney fan!
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on 5 April 2012
As a fan of James Cagney, he really pulls the gangster act off a natural, superb actor and its true, he never ever said' you dirty rat!'
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on 14 February 2012
Everything to Amazon's standard. This was Cagney at his best and how I remember him in my younger days. He has never been replaced.
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