A crackling crime caper that includes an overlay of racial tension, ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW was the first film out of Belafonte's own producing entity and proved that he wasn't just another pretty face and froggy voice. Robert Ryan, who was a liberal in real life, plays a psychotic racist
similiar to the anti-Semitic character he played in CROSSFIRE. Belafonte is a gambling junkie, a man whose love for the horses has caused his marriage to fall apart. He's a childish nightclub singer and is now in danger from the harassment of Kuluva, a gay gangster in the employ of the people who
hold Belafonte's IOUs. Ryan is an ex-con looking for a big score and Begley is a former cop who has been cashiered from the force for illegal dealings. This unlikely trio unite to rob an upstate New York bank of $150,000. Belafonte desperately needs his share of the swag to call off Kuluva, who is
now threatening to kill Belafonte's wife and daughter. Ryan is married to Winters, though dallying with Grahame, who gets vicarious thrills before they make love when she pleads with Ryan to tell her how it feels to murder someone. Ryan's anti-black feelings are overcome by Begley and the robbery
takes place. But everything goes awry. A gas station jockey spots Ryan. Belafonte witnesses an accident and must give his version of the incident; then he switches places with the food delivery man who brings the bank's night workers their refreshments. The regular guy shows up and so do the cops.
Begley is shot, and when he can't get the getaway car's keys to his buddies, he takes his own life, rather than suffer the ignominy of arrest. Ryan and Belafonte escape and flee to an oil storage area not unlike the one in the final scenes of WHITE HEAT.
This is a fine slice of noir that didn't get the box-office attention it deserved. It features a terrific jazz score by John Lewis, pianist for the Modern Jazz Quartet, and, in small roles, Cicely Tyson, Wayne Rogers, and Zohra Lampert. Blacklisted scripter Abraham Polonsky was omitted from the
credits in favor of a front, John O. Killens. In 1996, the Writer's Guild of America officially restored Polonsky's credit.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A crackling crime caper that includes an overlay of racial tension, ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW was the first film out of Belafonte's own producing entity and proved that he wasn't just another pretty face and froggy voice. Robert Ryan, who was a liberal in real… (more)