Criminal On-Duty.

Foreign (Italian, I’m thinking) poster art for Columbia’s 1953 noir Pushover with Kim Novak and Fred MacMurray, called “Criminal On Duty” here. This poster’s art always intrigued me, first because it’s such a disturbing image – a knock on the door, you open it and WHAM! Badness is about to happen.

But aside from the visceral artwork, it’s an interesting decision not to depict either of the film’s two main stars (well, other than Fred MacMurray’s hand) and show Dorothy Malone instead of Kim Novak. Mind you, I love them both, and Malone did what she could in a small but important role. All the same, the image here is dynamic and unsettling at the same time, don’t you think?

One thought on “Criminal On-Duty.

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  1. I think I fancied myself something of a noir aficionado, but increased viewing opportunities during the summer months of the pandemic would reveal to me some shockingly large gaps in my knowledge. I had never heard of ‘Pushover’ until I stumbled upon it on Television this summer. And sure, I get that Kim Novak is supposed to be the main attraction here, I really do. But as I’ve returned to the film twice since, the one thing I can’t stop thinking about is Dorothy Malone, and how she (once again) takes a small and seemingly plain role, and imbues it with a particular combination of grace, charm and sexual promise. (and I can’t imagine it was ever planed or scripted to be as such). Novak has all the right ingredients, lingering closeups, make-up and costumes that might as well have been painted on , but her character is SO glamorous, her sexuality is so over the top, it exhausts itself too quickly (Fred McMurray is drooling after seeing her for about half a second!). But instead of diminishing her female costar, Malone’s ‘woman next door’, with her knowing eyes, dimples and toothy grin, seems absolutely magnetic. And she’s seen mostly from a distance, like the fleeting eye contact with an attractive stranger on a subway. I just find her absolutely fascinating. I so want to be that cop with the binoculars.



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