Synopsis by Hal Erickson
I Died a Thousand Times is a scene-by-scene remake of the 1941 crime-drama classic High Sierra. Jack Palance steps into the old Humphrey Bogart role as Roy "Mad Dog" Earle, the ageing bank robber who intends to pull off one last heist before retiring. Sprung from prison by likeable crime boss Big Mac (Lon Chaney Jr.), Earle is commissioned to mastermind the robbery of a resort hotel. His partners in crime include the hotheaded, immature Babe (Lee Marvin) and Red (Earl Holliman), as well as "inside man" Mendoza (Perry Lopez). Also along for the ride is Marie (Shelley Winters), a dance-hall girl whom Babe has picked up. Marie falls in love with Earle, but he has eyes only for Velma (Lori Nelson), the club-footed daughter of a farmer (Ralph Moody) whom Earle had earlier befriended. Intending to use his share of the loot to finance Velma's operation, Earle goes through with the robbery, only to be thwarted by the ineptitude of his partners, the treachery of the late Big Mac's successors, and, finally, the fickle Velma. With the faithful Marie by his side, Earle makes a desperate escape into the High Sierras, but fate is still against him. Essentially an itinerary of what has previously "clicked" in High Sierra, I Died a Thousand Times makes a few concessions to changing tastes and mores; the stereotype comedy-relief character played by black actor Willie Best in the original film, for example, has been replaced by the more "acceptable" (at least by 1950s terms) stereotyped Mexican played by Gonzales-Gonzales. While the 1955 film cannot match the excellence of its 1941 role model, I Died a Thousand Times works pretty well on its own terms.
emergency, medical, police, deformity, finances, gangster, handicap, killing, love, on-the-run, rejection