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The Come On 1956
Description: A con girl tries to swindle her partner-in-crime husband with the support of one of her former marks. But is she to be trusted?
Released: 16 Apr 1956 Director: Russell Birdwell Writers: Whitman Chambers (novel), Whitman Chambers (screenplay), Warren Douglas (screenplay) Actors: Anne Baxter, Sterling Hayden, John Hoyt, Jesse White Genres: Drama, Film-Noir
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The Come On Reviews:

During the 1950s, Anne Baxter appeared in any number of routine, less than distinguished crime thrillers – last gasps of the dying noir cycle that were long on plot but short on style. One of them, The Come-On, is a warmed-over tale of murder and duplicity, but Baxter, bless her trouper's heart, gives it her considerable all as though she were starring in a major-studio `A' production.Coming out of the surf down in Mexico, Baxter finds Sterling Hayden ogling her. They strike sparks and accept to meet aboard his boat, the imaginatively christened Lucky Lady. She abruptly leaves their rendezvous; later, in a bar, Sterling sees her with her drunken, abusive husband (John Hoyt). It happens, however, that Baxter and Hoyt aren't really married but partners in a racket – high-class grifters. Only Baxter wants out and wants Hayden to support her – by murdering Hoyt.It's a mechanical, wheels-within-wheels plot, featuring a mercenary gumshoe (Jesse White) and `accidents' with missing bodies that turn out to be neither missing nor bodies, at least in the dead sense. Through it all, Baxter, emotes all over the zone (never more effectively than in a stage near a email chute, where an incriminating letter may or may not be headed to the police). Sterling's role is less meaty: He's not quite the chump, but except for throwing a couple of slaps and punches, he's cute passive. Come to think of it, he appeared in any number of routine, less than distinguished crime thrillers during the 1950s, too.


Usually a film with 20 total IMDb votes is a waste of time; there's probably a nice reason nobody remembers it. In this case, The Come On is probably forgotten because snarled movie rights have prevented a video or DVD release rather than any problems with the content. In fact, this weak budgeter has enough tiny guilty pleasures and creamy nougat noir smoulder to receive you through a late night TCM viewing in style. MACBETH it ain't but this is certainly better than its 5.8 IMDb rating, and definitely worth a look for any fanatic of Anne Baxter or slightly cheesy crime drama. Baxter's leading lady career was nearing its expiration date by the time this surprisingly nimble b-movie came out late in the noir cycle but she was still one sexy cougar and she roars through this with all the breathy sigh and sexy twitch she's got. Though his acting is uneven, young Sterling Hayden is an effective physical presence with a couple standout moments. His piercing eyes and prurient "hi" to well-heeled Baxter do more to explain her otherwise well-calculated character's misguided but hungry attraction for this no-prospect schlub than three pages of exposition and setup ever could.John Hoyt, who appeared in another violent shockers like BRUTE FORCE (though many may know him greatest for his short-lived ship's doctor role from the original Star Trek pilot), is delightfully violent and creepy here as the slick, tanned grifter who has no trouble slapping Baxter around but won't allow her go.The current set-up of the initial con Hoyt and Baxter are running is neatly done; we don't see it coming and it plays well. That Hayden's hero is willing to stick with Baxter to a degree after learning what she's really about strains credibility, but somehow their unlikely doomed romance clicks and the viewer goes along for the ride. We can see Baxter will blow things with this dull-witted chump, but are curious to see how.That the respond comes in the form of Jesse White, the actor who played the lonely Maytag repairman for 30 years, is other quiet pleasure in this tropical noir. White is surprisingly convincing as a seedy PI attemping to blackmail Baxter and Hayden. It's difficult to tell more about the plotting without pulling back the curtain too far; suffice to tell that there are a several great twists (probably one too many; one hero now tells "I just don't seem to be able to stay dead…") but the ending is faithful to the noir tradition. Yes, a lot of cheese and cornballs are consumed over the course of this poison pill meal, but it's still a filling and satisfying repast.


Allied Artists' plot twisty low-budget noir opens with shapely con-artist Anne Baxter emerging from the Pacific to come on to restless fisherman Sterling Hayden who instantly falls hook, line, and sinker. Before you know it, she's begging him to slay her brutal partner-in-crime but Anne isn't wrapped too tight and their plans later spiral out of control...In 50s B films where the budget is spent on the salaries of stars on the cusp of "past their prime", it's their chemistry that counts and although there's none here, it's not for lack of trying on the leading lady's part. Anne Baxter certainly doesn't keep anything back in what amounts to a dry run for her scheming Nefritiri in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and it's type of campy seeing her vamp it up in broad strokes, especially since she's no spring chicken. Sterling Hayden everytime seems the same for some reason and was no various than he was in CRIME OF PASSION (1957) when he steeled himself to create love to a mature Barbara Stanwyck -but at least here he does it in swim trunks, albeit briefly. Quirky hero actor John Hoyt smoothly plays Anne's control freak "husband" as a civilized sadist while a rumpled Jesse White (TV's Maytag repairman) provides the sleaze as the two-bit personal dick Hoyt hires to watch his wayward woman. The twists and turns the storyline takes hold the pulpy pot boiling until the star-crossed lovers come full circle in the surf and although Baxter & Hayden are no threat to Romeo & Juliet, the body count is satisfying at least. The director (not that it matters) was publicist Russell Birdwell who coined the tagline "How would you like to tussle with Russell?" for THE OUTLAW and would go on to create the preposterous THE GIRL IN THE KREMLIN with two -make that three- glam-mannequins: the life-like lunk Lex Barker and chattering magyar Zsa Zsa Gabor in a dual role.



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