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LAWRENCE TIERNEY PLAYS THE WRONG MAN IN 'KILL OR BE KILLED'

Title: KILL OR BE KILLED Year: 1950 Rates: ***1/2

The epitome of a programmer with a beginning, middle and end, and plenty in-between which includes deadly piranha, mistreated jungle labor, the beautiful yet put-upon wife of an eccentric German land developer and one of the few things befitting the Noir template...

Though this is more an action-packed adventure where our hero, Lawrence Tierney, is not his usual DILLINGER vicious (also directed by Max Nosseck), BORN TO KILL sneaky or THE HOODLUM dangerously lethal villain but in this particular case, as The Wrong Man, he's not only wronged but not as angry or cunning as usual: Even after returning to an Opening Soon Nightclub after installing a complicated air conditioning system throughout the two-story joint: which was a bragged-about three month task. He even gets to sing and dance with a gorgeous blonde, until he learns he ain't getting paid. Of course a loud argument arises – and soon enough the boss is killed by a wraithlike stranger who makes out the window in seconds flat, and it sure seems like  Tierney's Robert Warren is the killer...

Movie Poster for Kill or Be Killed

He becomes a hunted man, shot at by natives hired by local mobster George Coulouris, the banker from CITIZEN KANE, as tne nefarious Victor Sloma is as sleazy as his name... 

Tierney with Leonor Maia

Henchman of a sinister and downright creepy, former and now hidden Nazi whose oblivious American wife, in a boat heading to the river locale, falls for Tierney's dogged Robert, hidden inside her cloistered room...

Marissa O'Brien, a pretty wife-next-door, and Tierney have chemistry that makes their romance matter on a personal basis... 

Without her he'll be caught, and without him she'd never learn the truth about her husband, and with all the pulpy action stretched into a programmer, what KILL OR BE KILLED amounts to is Tierney becoming part of a jungle chain gang involving free men but they're not really, and he's much too quickly recognized and realized as the so-called killer from town... being the only white man so the suspense amounts to very little, as it's deliberately no thriller, and we hear about the central river's ferocious piranha more than we actually witness their wrath, or aftermath yet it all still works, hearing a piercing scream from their victims, which, at one point, comes to pass during a pivotal clash between Tierney and Coulouris. Overall, when it comes to acting, Tierney's usual monotone works well enough to make him a hero to root for with an edge to keep him alive, without anyone by his side.         

Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
From KILL OR BE KILLED with Marissa O'Brien
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
KILL OR BE KILLED with Marissa O'Brien
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED with Marissa O'Brien
Leonor Maia in KILL OR BE KILLED
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
Leonor Maia in KILL OR BE KILLED
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED with Marissa O'Brien
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED
George Coulouris in KILL OR BE KILLED
Rudolph Anders in KILL OR BE KILLED with Lawrence Tierney
From KILL OR BE KILLED
Lawrence Tierney in KILL OR BE KILLED with Marissa O'Brien
George Coulouris in KILL OR BE KILLED
Poster for  KILL OR BE KILLED with Lawrence Tierney
Helga Liné with Leonor Maia in KILL OR BE KILLED with Lawrence Tierney

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