An insurance lawyer unhappy with his rate of company advancement becomes a middleman in deals to recover stolen property from the Mob, thus earning a nice living. But his actions attract police attention and set him up for a double-cross.
When architect Stephen Booker loses his partnership, he finds jobs hard to come by, and with money in short supply, he unwittingly becomes involved in a daring scheme to rob one of London's biggest bank vaults.
If Loophole had starred a well known actor like Robert Mitchum this film would be better known. But Barry Sullivan good actor that he was never made it to the top tier. As it is it does have Dorothy Malone as Sullivan's loyal supportive wife, but this was two years away from Malone's Oscar performance in Written On The Wind which vaulted her career into the big time.
In fact had Malone already made Written On The Wind she would have gotten the part that Mary Beth Hughes had as the hard hearted dame who drives Don Beddoe into a life of crime.
I have to say that Beddoe and Hughes had one brilliant scheme for embezzlement. They take $50,000.00 from the bank where Sullivan works as a teller and suspicion falls on him. The whole movie is Sullivan trying to clear himself of suspicion.
He's in fact initially questioned by the police and FBI and let go for lack of evidence. But the insurance investigator Charles McGraw stays doggedly and Javert like on his trail. Sometimes Javerts have their uses, but only when they're right. McGraw is dead wrong and won't back off. He keeps hounding Sullivan hoping he'll lead him to the money that he doesn't have.
Beddoe is another interesting character. It's like they borrowed Alec Guinness's character from The Lavendar Hill Mob and used it here in a serious vein. He's this mild mannered teller who gets seduced by Mary Beth Hughes and then embezzles the money. Just a man thinking with his male member getting a taste of a sexy dame way out of his league.
It's Hughes however that really dominates this film. One of her best bad girl roles. But she's definitely one you might risk imprisonment for a little nookie.
Sullivan's a true tragic figure who fortunately had a couple of people believing in him. He's not arrested but he loses his teller job and then McGraw keeps on his trail getting him fired from every job he gets. I've known law enforcement people like that, won't explore other alternatives to a theory of a crime. I've known people who've suffered because of it.
Loophole is quite the sleeper noir film. Definitely do not miss this if it is broadcast.
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