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Monday, October 19, 2015

Crossfire (1947)

A police detective (Robert Young) investigates the brutal murder of a man (Sam Levene) found dead in his hotel room. The main suspect appears to be a soldier (George Cooper) but after questioning his army buddy (Robert Mitchum) and a prostitute (Gloria Grahame in an Oscar nominated performance), he's not so sure. Based on the novel THE BRICK FOXHOLE by Richard Brooks (who would later carve out a career as a director), this is film noir with a social conscience. Fortunately except for one scene near the film's end, the scenarist John Paxton and director Edward Dmytryk don't shove it down our throats. The novel's homophobia was re-written to anti-semitism to placate the Breen Office censors. The film packs as strong a punch today as it did in 1947. Robert Ryan (also Oscar nominated) is excellent as the anti-Semite, his very demeanor raising the hair on the back of your neck. I found the film's final moments very conventional which is a shame considering how potent everything before it is but it doesn't harm the film. With Paul Kelly, Jacqueline White, Lex Barker, Steve Brodie and William Phipps. 

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