Loophole (1954 film)

Loophole is a 1954 black-and-white B-movie film noir crime drama starring Barry Sullivan and Dorothy Malone. The film was directed by former editor Harold D. Schuster. Mary Beth Hughes plays the movie's femme fatale.[1]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarold D. Schuster
Produced byLindsley Parsons
Screenplay byWarren Douglas
Story byDwight V. Babcock
George Bricker
StarringBarry Sullivan
Dorothy Malone
Charles McGraw
Music byPaul Dunlap
CinematographyWilliam A. Sickner
Edited byAce Herman
Distributed byAllied Artists Pictures
Release date
  • March 28, 1954 (1954-03-28) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States


The film tells the story of bank teller Mike Donovan (Sullivan) who failed to report a $49,000 shortage from his drawer. He's accused of theft and quickly fired from his job. He is then prevented from finding other employment by insurance investigator Gus Slavin (McGraw), who is convinced Donovan took the money.

Despite many setbacks, Donovan tries to clear his name but even his wife (Malone) doesn't think that he'll be able to do it. Turns out the money was heisted by a phony bank examiner and his mole working at the bank (Hughes).



Noir analysis

Film critic Dennis Schwartz explains why the film is considered a film noir: "The poignancy of the story is in how an innocent, hard-working person like Mike, could have his whole life turned upside-down over an incident where he makes an error in judgment. When he tells his boss (Lummis) about it, he has no explanation why he didn't report it immediately except he couldn't understand how so much money was missing. This slip-up is why Mike becomes a noir protagonist, though he doesn't have the dark side to his character this genre usually calls for...[and] his life turns into hell when, even though he is not charged with anything, the bonding company that must insure him cancels his certification and the bank is forced to fire him. Not only can't he get bonded so he can get another teller's job, but the bond company puts a mean-spirited insurance investigator on his tail, Gus Slavin (Charles McGraw). Slavin is convinced Mike is guilty and tails him everywhere, and when Mike gets a job he informs the boss on him and Mike is always promptly fired."[2]


  1. Loophole on IMDb.
  2. Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, May 24, 2000. Last accessed: January 12, 2008.
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