Saturday, June 21, 2014
Hunky Navy amnesiac Bill Williams picks up weary dime-a-dance girl Susan Hayward in the spectacular film noir from 1946, Deadline at Dawn.
Williams plays a naive kid from the sticks who is visiting New York City on a 24-hour pass before his ship leaves. This is the New York City of 1945, jammed with people, full of sailors and soldiers seeking quick sex and good times, and chock-a-block with sleaze and corruption. Williams wakes up at a newsstand, clutching a bunch of bananas and not really sure how he got there. The newsstand boy says he seemed to be really drunk, and had been badgering a fruit seller for those bananas. When he sat down, he passed out.
But there's a catch: Williams discovers $2,500 in cash in his pocket. How did it get there? Who was he with? He only dimly recalls the girl he met earlier that night, and where she lives. But he's woozy, frightened, not sure how to proceed. He starts to walk, and the crowd moves him along the street toward a dance hall. There, anyone can dance for five minutes with one of the girls, just a dime, just a dime... Williams goes inside, just to sit down and think for a bit.
Once inside, he sees dance-girl Hayward being harassed by a sweaty foreigner. The guy wears gloves, has a skin condition, won't stop pestering her... Williams buys her remaining tickets to save her. But like most dance-hall girls, she's been on her feet for almost 18 hours. She's weary, sad, alone, cynical... Almost foolishly, Williams tells her his story.
And then he makes the terrible admission: He might have committed murder earlier that night....
Now, with just six hours until he has to be back at his ship, Williams and Hayward are facing a deadline at dawn: Solve the mystery and clear his name, or get on that Navy ship -- in which case he's sure to be charged with murder.
Plus gratuitous sexy Bill Williams shot.