Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye


1h 42m 1950

Brief Synopsis

From the trial of the survivors, we flash back to amoral crook Ralph Cotter's violent prison break, assisted by Holiday Carleton, sister of another prisoner...who doesn't make it. Soon Ralph manipulates the grieving Holiday into his arms, and two crooked cops follow her into his pocket. Ralph's total lack of scruple brings him great success in a series of robberies. But his easy conquest of gullible heiress Margaret Dobson proves more dangerous to him than any crime...

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 19, 1950
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Aug 1950
Production Company
Cagney Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye by Horace McCoy (New York, 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,202ft

Synopsis

Seven people are on trial for several related murders: Holiday Carleton, former policemen Charles Weber and John Reece, Cherokee Mandon, an attorney, Peter Cobbett, a former guard at the state penal farm, and criminals Vic Mason and Jinx Raynor. Cobbett is called to the stand and testifies about events which took place four months earlier: At the state prison farm, prisoner Ralph Cotter retrieves a bag of guns that have been hidden by Cobbett. Later, he and Ralph Carleton, another convict, attempt an escape. Carleton is wounded, and Cotter coldbloodedly kills him before joining Holiday, Carleton's sister, and Jinx in the waiting car, where he claims that a guard killed Carleton. In a nearby town, the escapees return the car to Vic Mason's garage. Later, Cotter hides out in Holiday's apartment. When she tries to get rid of him, he reminds her that she shot a guard and, because of that, is wanted by the police. Later, with Jinx's help, Cotter robs a market to pay Holiday's debt to Mason. When Mason criticizes Cotter for committing a crime in the town in which they are hiding, Cotter beats him up. Acting on a tip from Mason, Reece and Weber trace Cotter to Holiday's apartment, where they confiscate the remaining money and order Cotter to leave town. When Cotter learns that Weber is a police inspector, he orders Jinx to wire the apartment, and later records the policemen agreeing to split the take from a payroll robbery. Cotter and Jinx then contact Doc Green, a former attorney, who now works as a spiritualist, and demand the name of a lawyer who can help them. Green suggests Cherokee Mandon. Mandon is the next witness to take the stand and claims that he was coerced into helping Cotter: When Cotter visits Mandon at home and tells him about the tape recording of Weber and Reece, he believes they are trying to get him disbarred. Cotter then kidnaps Mandon at gunpoint and plays him the recording. When Weber and Reece return to Holiday's apartment, Mandon plays the recording for them. Weber threatens to kill them all, but Mandon informs him that copies of the tape have been sent to friends. Later, Cotter waits for Green's assistant, Margaret Dobson, the unruly daughter of wealthy Ezra Dobson, head of a steel company and the most powerful man in the state. Although Mandon warns Cotter against Margaret, Cotter ignores him and marries her. Dobson is furious and announces that he will have the marriage annulled. Cotter refuses to leave Margaret, but when Dobson asks him to formally renounce all rights to the Dobson fortune, he withdraws and agrees to the annulment. Cotter then starts to rob a bookie operation but, impressed by the operation's income, decides instead to take over the organization. Meanwhile, two investigators question Mason. Jinx now takes the stand: After the robbery, he waits at Holiday's apartment for Cotter's return. Later, Mandon tells Cotter that Dobson has been looking for him, and Holiday learns about Cotter's marriage. Dobson informs Cotter that Margaret still loves him and the marriage has not been annulled. He adds that Margaret's personal fortune is greater than his own. Margaret suggests that they leave town immediately and Cotter agrees. He returns to Holiday's apartment to pick up his things, but before he can leave, Holiday murders him in retaliation for killing her brother. The investigators then break into her apartment and arrest her.

Photo Collections

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye - Lobby Card
Here is a Lobby Card from Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 19, 1950
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Aug 1950
Production Company
Cagney Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye by Horace McCoy (New York, 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,202ft

Articles

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye on Blu-ray


When his independent filmmaking efforts failed to make money, James Cagney relented in his self-exile from Warner Bros. and negotiated a return to the studio under favorable conditions. Although he contracted to make only one more outright gangster picture, White Heat became such a big hit that James and his producer brother William chose a gangster story for their next spin at independent producing. Although a lesser achievement 1950's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is not without its compensations: a script from a hard-boiled pulp original by the now-celebrated Horace McCoy (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?), smart direction from Gordon Douglas, good acting, and sadistic violence. Make that a LOT of sadistic violence. Shooting people point blank and smashing their heads in with blunt objects are commonplace occurrences. Even after his shocking turn as Cody Jarrod, this is James Cagney's most vicious screen characterization.

Harry Brown's script charts the progress of a tough guy who enjoys a violent streak of good luck. Thief and thug Ralph Cotter (Cagney) is sprung from jail as an 'investment' for several crooks led by auto shop owner Vic Mason (Rhys Williams). Fellow prisoner Carleton (Neville Brand) is wounded during the escape so Cotter shoots him through the head. As it turns out the sharpshooter providing cover for the getaway is Carleton's sister Holiday (Barbara Payton). Ignoring instructions, Cotter and his associate Jinx Raynor (Steve Brodie) pull off a local robbery. Detectives Weber and Reece (Ward Bond & Barton MacLane) turn out to be crooked as well. They take Ralph Cotter's money and order all three of them to leave town. Cotter instead records Weber and Reece's self-incriminating voices on a record, and takes his evidence to Cherokee Mandon (Luther Adler), a shady attorney.

With the cops in his pocket, Cotter and his tiny gang are free to rob the local syndicate's moneymen. The morally malleable Holiday knows she's doing wrong, but is soon madly in love with Cotter. Unfortunately, he has found another outlet for his amorous ambitions: Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter), heir to a major fortune. The adventurous Margaret launches into a whirlwind affair with Cotter. Her busy father Ezra (Herbert Heyes) catches them in bed together, only for Margaret to produce a marriage license. Ezra assumes that his daughter has been taken in, but to his surprise Ralph agrees to an annulment and refuses to accept a payoff for his trouble. Ezra is impressed by Cotter's ability to control the flighty Margaret. Ralph plays so straight with Ezra that he may be welcomed into a life of ease and plenty with the luscious Margaret. The only trouble is those two crooked cops, who will do anything to turn the tables on Ralph. And how is Ralph going to explain Margaret to Holiday?

The evocatively titled Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is smart, fast and cynical - it assumes that any given city is overrun with corrupt officials and a police force in league with organized crime. Cagney's Ralph Cotter bluffs, cajoles and threatens his way in and out of trouble. He loves risk and is convinced that he can control anyone. He takes full advantage of her unquestioning loyalty.

The hard-edged dialogue may have been a carry-over from author Horace McCoy, who himself had been writing screenplays since the early 1930s. As might be expected, James Cagney imbues the crafty Ralph Cotter with a full range of devious tricks. He plays the sniveling coward with the cops just long enough to let them fall into his trap. He's "sincere" with Holiday and enticingly cagey with Margaret. We'll bet that in an earlier draft Holiday was more of a hick, and Margaret a reckless playgirl fantasy hungry for a 'dangerous' man to dominate her.

It's especially fun to see the delighted look on Ralph's face when his attorney Cherokee Mandon cleans up his past with just a few slick moves. Cotter's police record is shredded and he's even issued a license to carry a concealed weapon. Ralph also loves getting pulled over for speeding with the rich Margaret Dobson - the cop apologizes to her for the inconvenience. Ralph proves that he's a Crook For All Seasons when he plays the upstanding fellow for the benefit of Margaret's father. Enjoying Margaret's swank apartment and an exotic European sports car (not to mention Margaret herself) seems a lot better than dodging the law for the rest of his life. If he can only pull it off...

The heightened violence quotient in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye may be a carryover from White Heat, with its savage scalding and cold-blooded executions. Other pictures offered instances of aggravated brutality, such as Andrew Stone's Highway 301. The violent acts aren't isolated, and the targets now include women. In Highway 301 a terrified beauty is cornered in a hotel corridor and shot in the stomach. In Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye Ralph murders cops and crooks alike. He pistol-whips people so hard there's every possibility of a fatal blow. He also roughs up Barbara Payton, perhaps to carry on the Cagney legacy of girl bashing in White Heat (Virginia Mayo) that began twenty years earlier with The Public Enemy (Mae Clark). Ralph commits atrocious acts, such as the (off-screen) execution of three rival mobsters, yet he's the film's only identification figure.

The show is bookended with strident courtroom scenes expressing outrage at Ralph Cotter's crime wave, but legal payback can't quite restore moral balance to Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. Even the ironic twist ending seems a bit wrong. Ralph Cotter is just too exciting for an exit like that -- who wants a world populated with all those unimaginative leftover crooks?

James Cagney has lost none of his tough guy edge, although from here forward he promoted a good-guy Yankee Doodle Dandy persona when possible. Everyone else gives fine support, with Helena Carter (the sexy nurse in Invaders from Mars) looking a little unfocused at times but always at maximum seductiveness. Ironically, crooked detectives Ward Bond and Barton MacLane also played the dumb but honest cops that dogged Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade ten years before in the classic The Maltese Falcon.

This was the big break picture for actress Barbara Payton, who showed great promise before her career and her personal life fell to pieces. One of the sadder chapters in Hollywood Babylon lore, Ms. Payton seems to have been victimized by bad men, bad luck and terrible personal decisions.

Olive's Blu-ray of Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a great HD encoding of this handsomely filmed crime story. Cameraman J. Peverell Marley and designer Wiard Ihnen contrast Holiday's crummy apartment and Margaret's lush layout with its servants at the ready. Barbara Payton and Helena Carter are each given their own glamour treatment. Olive's presentation contains no trailer or extras.

By Glenn Erickson
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye On Blu-Ray

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye on Blu-ray

When his independent filmmaking efforts failed to make money, James Cagney relented in his self-exile from Warner Bros. and negotiated a return to the studio under favorable conditions. Although he contracted to make only one more outright gangster picture, White Heat became such a big hit that James and his producer brother William chose a gangster story for their next spin at independent producing. Although a lesser achievement 1950's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is not without its compensations: a script from a hard-boiled pulp original by the now-celebrated Horace McCoy (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?), smart direction from Gordon Douglas, good acting, and sadistic violence. Make that a LOT of sadistic violence. Shooting people point blank and smashing their heads in with blunt objects are commonplace occurrences. Even after his shocking turn as Cody Jarrod, this is James Cagney's most vicious screen characterization. Harry Brown's script charts the progress of a tough guy who enjoys a violent streak of good luck. Thief and thug Ralph Cotter (Cagney) is sprung from jail as an 'investment' for several crooks led by auto shop owner Vic Mason (Rhys Williams). Fellow prisoner Carleton (Neville Brand) is wounded during the escape so Cotter shoots him through the head. As it turns out the sharpshooter providing cover for the getaway is Carleton's sister Holiday (Barbara Payton). Ignoring instructions, Cotter and his associate Jinx Raynor (Steve Brodie) pull off a local robbery. Detectives Weber and Reece (Ward Bond & Barton MacLane) turn out to be crooked as well. They take Ralph Cotter's money and order all three of them to leave town. Cotter instead records Weber and Reece's self-incriminating voices on a record, and takes his evidence to Cherokee Mandon (Luther Adler), a shady attorney. With the cops in his pocket, Cotter and his tiny gang are free to rob the local syndicate's moneymen. The morally malleable Holiday knows she's doing wrong, but is soon madly in love with Cotter. Unfortunately, he has found another outlet for his amorous ambitions: Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter), heir to a major fortune. The adventurous Margaret launches into a whirlwind affair with Cotter. Her busy father Ezra (Herbert Heyes) catches them in bed together, only for Margaret to produce a marriage license. Ezra assumes that his daughter has been taken in, but to his surprise Ralph agrees to an annulment and refuses to accept a payoff for his trouble. Ezra is impressed by Cotter's ability to control the flighty Margaret. Ralph plays so straight with Ezra that he may be welcomed into a life of ease and plenty with the luscious Margaret. The only trouble is those two crooked cops, who will do anything to turn the tables on Ralph. And how is Ralph going to explain Margaret to Holiday? The evocatively titled Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is smart, fast and cynical - it assumes that any given city is overrun with corrupt officials and a police force in league with organized crime. Cagney's Ralph Cotter bluffs, cajoles and threatens his way in and out of trouble. He loves risk and is convinced that he can control anyone. He takes full advantage of her unquestioning loyalty. The hard-edged dialogue may have been a carry-over from author Horace McCoy, who himself had been writing screenplays since the early 1930s. As might be expected, James Cagney imbues the crafty Ralph Cotter with a full range of devious tricks. He plays the sniveling coward with the cops just long enough to let them fall into his trap. He's "sincere" with Holiday and enticingly cagey with Margaret. We'll bet that in an earlier draft Holiday was more of a hick, and Margaret a reckless playgirl fantasy hungry for a 'dangerous' man to dominate her. It's especially fun to see the delighted look on Ralph's face when his attorney Cherokee Mandon cleans up his past with just a few slick moves. Cotter's police record is shredded and he's even issued a license to carry a concealed weapon. Ralph also loves getting pulled over for speeding with the rich Margaret Dobson - the cop apologizes to her for the inconvenience. Ralph proves that he's a Crook For All Seasons when he plays the upstanding fellow for the benefit of Margaret's father. Enjoying Margaret's swank apartment and an exotic European sports car (not to mention Margaret herself) seems a lot better than dodging the law for the rest of his life. If he can only pull it off... The heightened violence quotient in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye may be a carryover from White Heat, with its savage scalding and cold-blooded executions. Other pictures offered instances of aggravated brutality, such as Andrew Stone's Highway 301. The violent acts aren't isolated, and the targets now include women. In Highway 301 a terrified beauty is cornered in a hotel corridor and shot in the stomach. In Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye Ralph murders cops and crooks alike. He pistol-whips people so hard there's every possibility of a fatal blow. He also roughs up Barbara Payton, perhaps to carry on the Cagney legacy of girl bashing in White Heat (Virginia Mayo) that began twenty years earlier with The Public Enemy (Mae Clark). Ralph commits atrocious acts, such as the (off-screen) execution of three rival mobsters, yet he's the film's only identification figure. The show is bookended with strident courtroom scenes expressing outrage at Ralph Cotter's crime wave, but legal payback can't quite restore moral balance to Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. Even the ironic twist ending seems a bit wrong. Ralph Cotter is just too exciting for an exit like that -- who wants a world populated with all those unimaginative leftover crooks? James Cagney has lost none of his tough guy edge, although from here forward he promoted a good-guy Yankee Doodle Dandy persona when possible. Everyone else gives fine support, with Helena Carter (the sexy nurse in Invaders from Mars) looking a little unfocused at times but always at maximum seductiveness. Ironically, crooked detectives Ward Bond and Barton MacLane also played the dumb but honest cops that dogged Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade ten years before in the classic The Maltese Falcon. This was the big break picture for actress Barbara Payton, who showed great promise before her career and her personal life fell to pieces. One of the sadder chapters in Hollywood Babylon lore, Ms. Payton seems to have been victimized by bad men, bad luck and terrible personal decisions. Olive's Blu-ray of Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a great HD encoding of this handsomely filmed crime story. Cameraman J. Peverell Marley and designer Wiard Ihnen contrast Holiday's crummy apartment and Margaret's lush layout with its servants at the ready. Barbara Payton and Helena Carter are each given their own glamour treatment. Olive's presentation contains no trailer or extras. By Glenn Erickson

Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)


Kenneth Tobey, the sandy-haired, tough-looking American character actor who appeared in over 100 films, but is best remembered as Captain Patrick Hendry in the Sci-Fi classic, The Thing From Another World (1951), died on December 22nd of natural causes at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 86.

Born in Oakland, California on March 23, 1917, Tobey originally intended to be a lawyer before a stint with the University of California Little Theater changed his mind. From there, he went straight to New York and spent nearly two years studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where his classmates included Gregory Peck, Eli Wallach and Tony Randall. Throughout the '40s, Tobey acted on Broadway and in stock before relocating to Hollywood. Once there, Tobey soon found himself playing a tough soldier in films like I Was a Male War Bride and Twelve O' Clock High (both 1949); or a tough police officer in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Three Secrets (both 1950). Such roles were hardly surprising, given Tobey's craggy features, unsmiling countenance and rough voice.

Needless to say, no-nonsense, authority figures would be Tobey's calling for the remainder of his career; yet given the right role, he had the talent to make it memorable: the smart, likeable Captain Hendrey in The Thing From Another World (1951); the gallant Colonel Jack Evans in the "prehistoric dinosaur attacks an urban center" genre chiller The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953, a must-see film for fans of special effects wizard, Ray Harryhausen; and as Bat Masterson, holding his own against Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

Television would also offer Tobey much work: he had his own action series as chopper pilot Chuck Martin in Whirlybirds (1957-59); and had a recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Alvin in Perry Mason (1957-66). He would also be kept busy with guest appearances in countless westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian) and cop shows (The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, Ironside) for the next two decades. Most amusingly, the tail end of Tobey's career saw some self-deprecating cameo spots in such contemporary shockers as The Howling (1981); Strange Invaders (1983) and his role reprisal of Captain Hendry in The Attack of the B-Movie Monsters (2002). Tobey is survived by a daughter, two stepchildren, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)

Kenneth Tobey, the sandy-haired, tough-looking American character actor who appeared in over 100 films, but is best remembered as Captain Patrick Hendry in the Sci-Fi classic, The Thing From Another World (1951), died on December 22nd of natural causes at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 86. Born in Oakland, California on March 23, 1917, Tobey originally intended to be a lawyer before a stint with the University of California Little Theater changed his mind. From there, he went straight to New York and spent nearly two years studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where his classmates included Gregory Peck, Eli Wallach and Tony Randall. Throughout the '40s, Tobey acted on Broadway and in stock before relocating to Hollywood. Once there, Tobey soon found himself playing a tough soldier in films like I Was a Male War Bride and Twelve O' Clock High (both 1949); or a tough police officer in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Three Secrets (both 1950). Such roles were hardly surprising, given Tobey's craggy features, unsmiling countenance and rough voice. Needless to say, no-nonsense, authority figures would be Tobey's calling for the remainder of his career; yet given the right role, he had the talent to make it memorable: the smart, likeable Captain Hendrey in The Thing From Another World (1951); the gallant Colonel Jack Evans in the "prehistoric dinosaur attacks an urban center" genre chiller The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953, a must-see film for fans of special effects wizard, Ray Harryhausen; and as Bat Masterson, holding his own against Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Television would also offer Tobey much work: he had his own action series as chopper pilot Chuck Martin in Whirlybirds (1957-59); and had a recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Alvin in Perry Mason (1957-66). He would also be kept busy with guest appearances in countless westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian) and cop shows (The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, Ironside) for the next two decades. Most amusingly, the tail end of Tobey's career saw some self-deprecating cameo spots in such contemporary shockers as The Howling (1981); Strange Invaders (1983) and his role reprisal of Captain Hendry in The Attack of the B-Movie Monsters (2002). Tobey is survived by a daughter, two stepchildren, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

And now, would one fugitive from justice care to fix another fugitive from justice... a sandwich?
- Ralph Cotter
He's too smart for you!
- Holiday Carleton
Oh no, he stopped being smart when he took my money.
- Ralph Cotter
He ain't to be trusted.
- Joe 'Jinx' Raynor
Why should *he* be different?
- Ralph Cotter
Why, I thought you were the law-abiding type.
- Ralph Cotter
I guess I'm just whatever you make me.
- Holiday Carleton

Trivia

Notes

Some scenes in this film were shot on location at a farm near Chino, CA and at a Glendale, CA market.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video October 1987

Released in United States Summer August 19, 1950

Formerly released in USA on video by AVID Home Video.

Released in United States Summer August 19, 1950

Released in United States on Video October 1987