Make Haste to Live


After serving 18 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, a mobster is paroled and returns to a New Mexico town to exact his revenge on the woman responsible for his conviction.

ACTORS : Dorothy McGuire, Stephen McNally, Carolyn Jones


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Make Haste to Live, Crystal ‘Chris’ Benson, a single mother in a small New Mexico town, senses a shadowy menace stalking her in the night. She acquires a gun and makes arrangements anticipating her own death, tape-recording a message for her teenage daughter which (in flashback) tells of her involvement with Steve Blackford, who has very good reason to hate her. Chris is determined and resourceful, but Steve has had 18 years to plan revenge.



Make Haste to Live, Eighteen years ago, Dorothy McGuire was married to Stephen McNally, who turned out to be a very bad man. After he had beaten a murder rap and he had hit her, she ran away. By happenstance, a different woman was blown up in their home, he was convicted of murdering Miss McGuire – apparently the corpse was in teeny-tiny pieces – and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Miss McGuire moved to a small town in the desert, raised their daughter to become Mary Murphy, and publish and edit the local paper. Now, however, McNally has gotten out of prison. He’s tracked her down and intends to punish her.

I can’t really blame him. She couldn’t have sent a picture of herself holding a current newspaper?

Despite this and other holes in the plot, this is a very entertaining movie, half soap opera, half crime drama, with some very engaging performances among the leads, and Edgar Buchanan just right as the canny local sheriff. William A. Seiter’s last movie as director is no world-beater because of the plot holes, but John Russell’s camerawork around Taos, New Mexico, and an early Elmer Bernstein score help to burnish this movie into a pretty good one.

Unclear to me

I didn’t really understand what the ex-con ex-husband “had” on the main character and what he was trying to do to her and her daughter. I did like the small Western town setting with the Indian Ruins excavation site and the idea of her attempting to escape via the chartered plane, the suspense and down-to-the-wire excitement. And the villain was a menacing character.

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