Not even Jimmy Cagney can save Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) from a deserved obscurity. In this over-rated picture Cagney is a vicious hood getting established in a new town after a violent prison break. The absurd plot moves at a glacial pace, and would almost work as a parody if it wasn’t for the brutal and wanton violence. Cagney looks tired and bored, as you would expect from a 51yo playing a 37yo, while Barbara Payton is ok as the girl he deceives. There are cops as stupid as they are bent, a gay shyster lawyer with a black body-builder houseboy, and a dizzy rich dame who falls for Cagney, while he is shacked-up with Payton, the sister of a young prisoner killed during the breakout. One of the more absurd scenes is the rich girl’s daddy bursting into the bedroom of the newly-married couple sound asleep in separate beds, with Cagney in silk pyjamas and as meek as a lamb.
A labored late gangster movie wrongly seen as a noir by some perhaps from its use of flashback.
There is a weird interlude where Cagney and an accomplice visit a ‘reformed’ hood to get wise on where he can find a ’good lawyer’. The former hood is now ‘respectable’ and moonlights as a lecturer on “the key to cosmic consciousness” – no kidding. After shaking down the barker for the name he wants, Cagney picks-up the rich girl who is a loyal follower, by begging a lift in her hot-rod. You can’t help but laugh out loud during the ensuing scene: