Bigoted, white ex-con Earl Slater (Robert Ryan) teams up with Dave Burke (Ed Begley), a dishonorably discharged former cop, to rob a bank in upstate New York. Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte), a jazz musician with a gambling problem, reluctantly joins Slater and Burke after a hoodlum named Bacco threatens Johnny’s family over unpaid debts. Everything that can go wrong with the heist does so, and racially generated friction boils over as Burke and Johnny must choose the greater threat to their lives—the prejudice that divides them or the authorities nipping at their heels.
Produced by Harry Belafonte’s HarBel Productions and written by blacklisted scribe Abe Polonsky. With Shelley Winters and noir gem Gloria Grahame and featuring an atmospheric score by Modern Jazz Quartet pianist John Lewis.
“A stunning example of how the racial dimension of a film can’t be untangled from its visual and sonic prowess… ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW depicts its black characters with a beauty and sincerity that astonishes. ” —Angelica Jade Bastién, Vulture “This was the favorite film of Jean-Pierre Melville, who saw it 120 times before directing his noir masterwork LE DEUXIÈME SOUFFLE.” —Philip French, Guardian “On one level, ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW is a taut crime melodrama. On another, it is an allegory about racism, greed and man's propensity for self-destruction.” —Variety (Dec 1958) “The sheer dramatic build-up of this contemplation of a crime is of an artistic caliber that is rarely achieved on the screen. Under the tight and strong direction of the realist, Robert Wise… The drama accumulates tensely, with fast, easy clarity, and the whole thing has an intensely sharp, true pictorial quality.” —Bosley Crowther, New York Times (Oct 1959)
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