Synopsis

Two bank robbers get away with 250,000 dollars in unmarked, unrecorded bills, murdering a guard in the process. The police know the leader was Harry Wheeler (Paul E. Richards) and turn their attention to his girlfriend, Leona McLane (Kim Novak), detective Paul Sheridan (Fred MacMurray) arranging to pick her up in a "chance" meeting at a movie and spend some time with her. After one day, he knows what he needs to -- that she's not in touch with Wheeler, but expects to be -- but he keeps things going between them for three more days. By the time the department has a full surveillance team in place, he can't get her off his mind, and when she discovers that he's a cop and raises the notion of letting events take their course with Wheeler (i.e., him ending up dead) and the two of them keeping the money, he's hooked. Sheridan is fast on his feet and a quick thinker and sees how he might pull this off and get the two of them away clean. But he doesn't bargain for the alcoholism of one of the detectives (Allen Nourse) on the surveillance team, the inquisitive nature of his squad commander (E.G. Marshall), or the attachment that his younger associate (Philip Carey) develops for a nurse (Dorothy Malone) living in the building they're observing. Kim Novak had previously appeared in small roles in some films at RKO, but The Pushover marked her formal introduction to audiences as a star, and she more than lives up to the billing and the buildup she received, her acting ability and her physique easily carrying her end of the picture (she's onscreen alone for long minutes under observation, and is convincingly seductive), while MacMurray gives one of the best performances of his career, rivaling his work in Double Indemnity, The Caine Mutiny, and The Apartment. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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