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Make Haste to Live 1954
Description: A single mother in Fresh Mexico senses her own death in the hands of a mysterious stalker.
Released: 25 Mar 1954 Director: William A. Seiter Writers: Mildred Gordon (novel), Gordon Gordon (novel), Warren Duff (screenplay) Actors: Dorothy McGuire, Stephen McNally, Mary Murphy, Edgar Buchanan Genres: Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
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Make Haste to Live Reviews:

The spooky opening sequence piques our appetite for Create Haste to Live. A sinister stranger looms in the bedroom where Dorothy McGuire tosses in restive sleep. The editor of a small-town newspaper in the Fresh Mexico desert, she's being stalked by her husband, a gangster just released from the pen for murder -- HER murder. Seems that years before, in Chicago, a girl was killed in an rigged explosion; when the body was identified as hers, McGuire packed up and started a fresh life.But having set up this intriguing situation, Create Haste to Live loses its method and ends up a muddled mess. When the husband (Steven McNally) insinuates himself into the household of McGuire and their teenage daughter, he's passed off as a black-sheep brother. And credulity gets strained method past the snapping point. McGuire flip-flops between resourceful adversary and the most feckless of battered wives; at times the two roil with hatred for one other but at others a light flirtatiousness enters their interactions. Any valid psychology in this, however, isn't worked out in dramatic terms; we receive no sense of the keep McNally has over his wife, only that he wants to slay her and she seems willing to die.A Bottomless Pit in an old Indian pueblo makes an early appearance but doesn't end up testing the role we come to expect it will; so the final resolution is contrived, coming not out of hero but out of the blue. Moseying along from one thing to another, Create Haste to Live has no urgent destination in mind.


Create Haste to Live is directed by William A. Seiter and adapted to screenplay by Warren B. Duff from the novel written by Gordon and Mildred Gordon. It stars Dorothy McGuire, Stephen McNally, Mary Murphy and Edgar Buchanan. Melody is by Elmer Bernstein and cinematography by John L. Russell.A gangster is sentenced to prison for killing his wife, but she isn't dead, she's alive and well and raising her daughter in Fresh Mexico. It's actually 18 years soon and he's out of the large house; and he wants revenge!Elmer Bernstein's magnificent musical score opens up the picture and Russell uses movie noir filters to photograph the gripping opening sequences. It's a handsome beginning, the promise of a movie noir gem is palpable, sadly the whole middle hour is plodding in pacing and ridiculous in plotting. There's some neat touches, McNally is permanently mad and sinister, which makes for nice fun, McGuire works difficult to maintain interest, Buchanan's gruff sheriff steps outside of the norm and the odd scene, such as that involving a fairground, have noirish leanings. The finale as well is of high quality, but patience is inspected throughout and there's the over riding feeling that the cast, Bernstein, Russell and the audience deserve a far better script. 5/10


When her gangster husband is paroled, a girl fears for herself and her teenage daughter. Sounds like a nice "out of the past" premise, but turns out to be a tepid thriller. There are brief tips of danger but they fizzle out, with Stephen McNally being a rather non-threatening presence and Dorothy McGuire uneven in her characterization. One minute she's haunted by nightmares, the next she seems quite comfortable with the situation. This thing just has no guts to it. What type of film teases the audience with a bottomless pit and then denies them the payoff? I've heard of Chekhov's Gun, but Chekhov's Hole? A great score by Elmer Bernstein is wasted on this humdrum do-nothing picture.



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