It's the typical love story.
Dora (Cleo Moore) is pulled out the water. She berates her rescuer for ruining her life by saving it. Dora is a down-on-her-luck escort/showgirl, without a job and no money for paying the rent on her dingy apartment.
Joe (John Agar) dies at 5 a.m., just a few hours away. At the gallows. He's a serial strangler of women, angry at the law, the warden, and Life. He refuses to see his sister. He refuses to see the Roman Catholic priest. But Joe has a final request: he wants a woman -- you know, one I can have fun with. I'll tell you where they are if you don't know. -- and some music.
The prison officials have some difficulty. It seems that the working women of the evening don't want to spend a few final hours with a woman strangler. Except Dora. Why should i care. The $200 will pay for a nice funeral. And the remaining three-quarters of the movie is spent watching Joe and Dora in his cell, first angry and frustrated with Life and each other, then revealing their life stories, finally dancing until 4:30 a.m....from a submission to death when he at first put his hands around her neck, to a bond for life -- what little may remain.
The warden and priest appear. Joe has one more request. He asks the priest to perform a wedding ceremony. He does. And as Joe is taken to the gallows, Dora goes to the chapel. And as the prison bell tolls five times, Dora is kneeling at the cross...praying for a miracle.
Written, produced and directed by Hugo Haas. HOLD BACK TOMORROW (1955). Chiaroscuro cinematography by Paul Ivano (QUEEN KELLY, THE SHANGHAI GESTURE, BLACK ANGEL, Family Affair). A Meditation on Life and Death.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles