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Rogue Cop

Rogue Cop(1954)

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teaser Rogue Cop (1954)

MGM, best known for its sunny family films, seldom ventured into the shadowy world of film noir. But the studio proved it could effectively create the requisite gritty,tough-talking style in a few films including The Postman Always Rings Twice(1946) and Rogue Cop (1954). The black-and-white cinematographyof Rogue Cop was atmospheric enough to win John F. Seitz an Oscarnomination. The movie stars studio contract players Robert Taylor and Janet Leigh,with George Raft, a stalwart in Warner Bros. gangster films, playing an importantsupporting part.

Taylor takes on the title role, that of veteran police officer Kelvaney, who isnot above taking pay-offs from underworld gang leader Beaumonte (Raft). When Taylor's kid brother Eddie (Steve Forrest), an idealistic rookie cop, runs afoul of Beaumonte and is murdered, it becomes clear that the rogue cop and the gangster are on a collision course that only one of them will survive. Leigh, at the peak of her beauty, plays Eddie's girlfriend, a nightclub singer named Karen. Another fetching blonde, AnneFrancis, takes the role of Raft's mistress.

Rogue Cop, adapted from the novel by William P. McGivern, hassimilarities to The Big Heat (1953), based on another story bythe same author and released a year earlier. In both cases, a cop (Glenn Ford inthe latter film) is led to crack down on a corrupt organization after the murderof a loved one.

Taylor's role allowed the former romantic leading man to have a rougher, more darkly compelling edge than his former studio boss, Louis B. Mayer, would likely have permitted. Taylor's 25-year tenure at MGM, which began in 1934, would be the second longest of any performer in the company's history -- topped only by Lewis Stone, who was associated with the studio for 29 years.

Rogue Cop was Leigh's last film with MGM, winding up an eight-yearperiod in which she played mostly ingenues. "As I walked out that big irongate for the last time," she wrote in her autobiography, "the flood ofmemories brought a flood of tears... And I was certain of one glorious gift: A constellation of events had placed me in Hollywood, at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in thetwilight of the Golden Years."

Producer: Nicholas Nayfack
Director: Roy Rowland
Screenplay: Sydney Boehm, from novel by William P. McGivern
Cinematography: John F. Seitz
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters
Original Music: Jeff Alexander
Editing: James E. Newcom
Costume Design: Helen Rose
Principal Cast: Robert Taylor (Det. Sgt. Christopher Kelvaney), Janet Leigh (KarenStephanson), George Raft (Dan Beaumonte), Steve Forrest (Eddie Kelvaney), Anne Francis (Nancy Corlane), Robert Ellenstein (Det. Sidney Y. Myers).
BW-93m. Closed captioning.

by Roger Fristoe

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