# Similar Movies Like 36 Hours to Kill
36 Hours to Kill 1936
Description: Duke and Jeanie Benson, an outlaw couple hiding out under assumed names. Duke realizes that he has a winning sweepstake ticket and will victory $150,000 if he can money it in without getting apprehended
Released: 24 Jul 1936 Director: Eugene Forde Writers: Lou Breslow (screen play), John Patrick (screen play), W.R. Burnett (based on a story by) Actors: Brian Donlevy, Gloria Stuart, Douglas Fowley, Isabel Jewell Genres: Drama, Romance
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36 Hours to Kill Reviews:

One of the films I've previously reviewed for IMDb is 'Sleepers West', a taut low-budget thriller. '36 Hours to Kill' has a set-up so related to 'Sleepers West' that at first I thought they were both based on the same novel. They aren't, and the movies go in various directions after that initial set-up. Both movies detail the same three archetypes as main characters: a tough cynical lawman, a young girl reporter of the 'news hen' Lois Lane type, and a gangster who won't hesitate to murder anybody who gets in his way. Also, both movies set most of their action aboard a cross-country train.And that's part of the excitement. Films set aboard a moving car (especially a train) are cute much boredom-proof.'Duke' Benson has everytime prospered from his illegal activities as a mid-level gangster, safe in the knowledge that the Feds are more interested in going after bigger gangsters. But somehow Benson has been promoted to public opponent #1, and he doesn't fancy the attention. Now, Benson has attracted even more attention for an unexpected reason: he's just won the sweepstakes! As he notes, this is the first *honest* cash he ever made. (I recall a real-life situation from the 1980s, when a mid-list Mafiosa won a large lottery prize. After some investigation, the lottery officials conceded that this career criminal had won the lottery drawing honestly.)Benson and his cheap moll wife Jeanie are aboard the same train as G-man Evers and news hen Marvis, and that's no coincidence. Marvis is trying to receive a large scoop on Benson, while Evers hopes to arrest him. Large macho character Evers is played by Brian Donlevy, who could have played gangster Benson instead. Donlevy has a cold personality that made him miscast in sympathetic roles (including Professor Quatermass), but which worked well whenever he played a villain.'36 Hours to Kill' begins out like a semi-comedy in tone, then plunges us into a borderline-noir action thriller, climaxing in a gun war in Benson's hideout. Speaking of comedy: one unfortunate resemblance between this movie and 'Sleepers West' is that both movies detail a 'comedy' performance by a black actor in a stereotypical role as a Negro porter. Here, the role is given to Stepin Fetchit ... no further comment is necessary, surely. Fetchit's hero is called Flash, so you know he's a slowpoke.There are nice performances by Warren Hymer (one of my favorite hero actors) as Benson's goon, and by reliable stalwarts Jonathan Hale, Charles Lane and Julius Tannen. Speaking of which: it was Tannen who invented the catchphrase that has been attributed to George M Cohan. When Cohan was still performing in vaudeville with his parents and his sister as the Four Cohans, he attended a Friars Club dinner at which comedian Tannen did imitations of few vaudeville headliners. Tannen attempted to do an imitation of all Four Cohans at the same go: a turn which ended with Tannen imitating George M Cohan and telling to the audience 'My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you and I thank you.' Knowing a nice line when he stole one, the true Cohan appropriated the fake Cohan's curtain line.In a rare leading role as the news hen, Gloria Stuart shows considerable beauty and talent: I'm disappointed that this fine actress walked away from the stardom she should have had, decades before her splendid arrival in 'Titanic'. '36 Hours to Kill' isn't quite as nice as 'Sleepers West', largely due to the miscasting of Donlevy and a terrible performance by Douglas Fowley, who was more effective in smaller roles. But this is a highly enjoyable and fast-paced film, and I'll rate it 8 points out of 10.


I watched this in preparation for "Europa." Both are essentially railroad movies.This is about a gangster who has come out of hiding to take a train trip to from Los Angeles to Chicago to accumulate on a sweepstakes ticket. On the train, few disguises become apparent among another passengers as well. It is not remotely interesting except for one actor, the Pullman Porter. He is Stepin Fetchit, a boy who in soon years became reviled for his scraping and bowing, his finished acceptance and deserving of the bottom class. I've seen him and his cohorts before. There was one in almost each film of this era. They create me squirm, not so much for what they are but because it makes me wonder what I easy agree actually that my grandchildren will revile.But here, my god, he is a blast. He had me rolling on the floor and I have to now send you to this for a masterful performance.Yes, he plays a stereotype. But it has a several mitigating factors. First, each soul in the thing is a comic stereotype, from the pug, the palooka, moll, Irish copper, German sanatorium doctor and so on. The large thing is that Fetchit's acting is what I call folded. He plays a moron, with a vocal rhythm that bests today's rappers. Sure he plays a moron. But the hero is constantly talking to himself about what morons the another characters are. And the fold — he knows he is testing a fake being and opens a separate channel with the audience, winking at himself and you for going along.The US has a strange racial history, and there is much to be ashamed of. But talent is talent and this guy is good.Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


36 Hours to Slay (1936) ** 1/2 (out of 4) I had never heard of this movie before seeing it but I noticed it had Brian Donlevy and Gloria Stuart so I decided to record it off FMC. A fugitive thief (Douglas Fowley) boards a train in L.A. so that he can receive to Kansas Town to accumulate $150,000 that he won in a jackpot. Hoping to evade the police who are looking for him, he gets to know a reporter (Donlevy) and a girl (Stuart) who is also running from the police. To tell anything else would crash a several surprises the movie has to offer. This is a cute nice tiny thriller that has plenty of turns in the screenplay but all of this is crashed by some incredibly terrible comic relief in the form of a retarded (or just plain stupid) black operator on the train. I'm not sure if this guy was suppose to be retarded or if its a black stereotype of a really dumb guy but this humor really kills the mystery of the film. The three leads are in very nice form and director Eugene Forde, who also did some Chan movies for Fox, keeps things moving nicely.



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