Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
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Link below is gone. This one (Part 1 of 3) works for now:
Harry Belafonte as Johnny Ingram is amazing! Also the soundtrack is great.
Odds Against Tomorrow concerns a relatively simple heist, but is more concerned with its three characters' descent into the desperation needed to commit to it, in particular Harry Belafonte's gambling addict and Robert Ryan's racist unemployed veteran. Neither feels this job is as easy as their retired cop friend would have it, and both have misgivings (for Ryan, it's working with a black man), but their lives keeps delivering hard knocks in terms of money and pride, which pushes them to say yes. And of course, like most heist movies, it's gonna go wrong, and despite so well thought-out procedural elements, it goes amazingly wrong. Some red herrings - or at least problems that don't pay off but that you can imagine would have down the line - but when it comes right down to it, it wouldn't have been nearly as bad if Ryan hadn't been a racist pig. This same year (1959), Belafonte's production company also released The World, The Flesh and the Devil, which was also about race relations, wrapped in genre. And Odds Against Tomorrow is apocalyptic in its own way, even if that means its last line is a little on the nose. Heist or no, the film stands as a deft character study with a cool jazz soundtrack.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #99 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
This movie ranks #99 in TSPDT's 100 Essential Noir Films
This movie ranks #571 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?