Tomorrow Is Another Day

Written by Joe D on April 18th, 2008


A Still From Highway 301, the 2nd half of the double bill
Scarlett O’Hara uttered this line in GWTW. It doesn’t have anything to do with this movie. Thank God. This noir gem starts out with brooding tough guy Steve Cochran being released from prison after an 18 year stretch. The kicker is he went in when he was 13 for killing his old man, Oedipus baby. The story zigs and zags with more turns than an anaconda doing the twist. He gets befriended by a guy in a greasy spoon, the guy buys him some pie, takes him to where he can get a job, then writes an expose about “the youngest killer in state history getting out of jail” complete with recent picture. Steve Cochran kicks the slimy reporter’s ass then he’s off to NYC for a 10 cent rendevous with destiny. He slides into a rent-a-date dance parlour and falls for the hardest chippie in the joint, Ruth Roman.

Ruth Roman, Va Va Voom!
He pursues her like a hound dog in the swamp and in spite of her acid edged personality, he makes progress. She invites him up to her pad where Bingo! An older dude is waiting, this angry cat tells Steve to blow and begins slapping the shit out of R.R. so Steve being a red blooded American convict starts slugging Mr. A-hole. The guy pulls a gun but Ruthie breaks a dish on his hand and Steve gloms the heater. He’s got grandpa covered but he has a flashback to when he plugged his old man and freezes up. The older guy slugs S.C. knocking him cold. R.R. grabs the rod and when hot head comes at her it goes off accidentally. The cool thing is when the guy gets up you can see a bullet hole in his back, the exit wound! Now this is a similar scenario to Fritz Lang’s Woman in The Window with Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett, but in that earlier film you don’t see any blood or wounds at all. Anyway it turns out Mr. Bad was a cop, a detective. So Steve tracks down Ruth, Steve doesn’t remember what happened so Ruth blames him! She says he did it!

More Ruth Roman, Can You Ever Get Enough!
He buys it and they’re off, a killer sequence has them hiding in a sedan on the back of a big car transporting rig. They head out cross country and the movie switches gears in a super cool way, up till now it’s been a typical 40’s type noir, all urban night, smoke, gunshots, hard dames that’ll get you strapped in the electric chair on the first date, the usual, now as the two star crossed lovers cross the big old USA it transforms into a 50’s movie, like a socially conscious teen angst James Dean type thing. They switch from double breasted suits and strapless chiffon numbers to blue jeans, leather jackets, Ruth even dyes her hair brunette, her real color. They’re like beatnik dharma bums living in a migrant farm workers camp picking lettuce and falling in love for the first time, Steve because he spent his entire adolescence in jail and Ruth because she had to fight off every guy that got within two feet of her. Things are looking good when the devil’s bargain rears it’s ugly head.

Steve looking like the Cat that swallowed the Canary
I won’t reveal what goes down but it’s a good predicament that ensnares the innocent as well as the guilty. Felix Feist did a great job with this epic. It’s got some excellent performances, a whole lot of story and several scenes that work like gangbusters. I didn’t like the end that much but other than that it’s pretty damn good. Check it out if you can, by the way the theater was pretty full, old Steve Cochran can still get people in off the street, even on a Thursday night in Hollywood!

Ciao Baby!