HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
   
 
Newest Articles
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
   
 
  Crossfire Hate is like a gunBuy this film here.
Year: 1947
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Paul Kelly, Sam Levene, Jacqueline White, Steve Brodie, George Cooper, Richard Benedict, Tom Keene, William Phipps, Lex Barker, Marlo Dwyer
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Homicide detective Captain Finlay (Robert Young) is on the scene when a man named Samuels (Sam Levene) is found dead in his apartment. Demobilized soldier Montgomery (Robert Ryan) appears at the door and informs Finlay he last saw Samuels in the company of fellow G.I., Mitchell (George Cooper), but maintains the latter is incapable of committing murder. Mitchell’s buddy, Sgt. Keeley (Robert Mitchum) is drawn into the investigation and shelters the suspect from the cops. While circumstantial evidence points to Mitchell, Finlay and Keeley team up to expose the real guilty party and uncover the ugly motive behind the hate crime.

The first B-movie (in the old sense of the term, as in a supporting feature rather than a cheap exploitation film) to receive several Academy Award nominations, Crossfire boldly tackled anti-semitism in America, noting the irony of soldiers returning from the Second World War to find hate in their own backyard. Cloaked in the dreamlike shadows and light of film noir, this dealt with the subject more skillfully than the same year’s Oscar-winning Gentleman’s Agreement although the original novel on which it was based dealt with a another kind of prejudice. In the novel written by Richard Brooks, who went on to a distinguished filmmaking career in his own right, the victim was homosexual. With the Hollywood Hays Code prohibiting any mention of homosexuality, screenwriter John Paxton switched the killer’s motivation from homophobia to anti-semitism. However, the film functions as an indictment of all forms of racism as Finlay delivers a keynote speech linking Samuel’s murder to a long history of hate crimes against every perceived minority.

Like another great noir, The Killers (1946), Crossfire has a complex flashback structure incorporating multiple narrators, only in this instance not everyone tells the truth. Even though the identity of the killer is more or less obvious from the outset, it is up to Finlay and Keeley to sort out what really happened. In this mystery motive is more important than identity, allowing the investigators to shine a light on a wider social evil. When Montgomery asserts the kind of men who avoided the draft and stayed at home during the war were those with “funny names”, Keeley wryly remarks: “He ought to look at the casualty list sometimes. A lot of funny names on there too.” Even so, anti-semitism is only the tip of the iceberg as the film asserts hate is simply symptomatic of a wider malaise afflicting a nation still shell-shocked after World War Two, as evidenced from the various traumatised characters Mitchell encounters on his night-time crawl through the city.

These include the amazing Gloria Grahame, who gets a great intro emerging out of a near-dreamlike haze as the camera highlights her sultry eyes and a jazz horn mimics a wolf whistle. Grahame, who was Oscar-nominated for a role she ranked as her personal favourite, plays Ginny - the prostitute who emerges the one person able to prove Mitchell was not in the room when Samuel was killed. In an affecting scene, Mitchell’s wife Mary (Jacqueline White) pleads with Ginny to reveal all, prompting the hooker to defend her right to survive by any means. She is as much a casualty of war as any soldier lost in battle. Equally moving, it is the victim himself who kindly observes hate is prevalent because people are still caught in a wartime mentality and that change will happen as society moves on. Ironically this progressive message was the kind of supposedly subversive thinking that saw director Edward Dmytryk targeted during the anti-communist witchhunts in the late Forties.

Everyone in the outstanding ensemble cast gets their moment to shine, in particular the three Roberts: Young, Mitchum and Ryan. Robert Young invests his dynamic detective with pipe-puffing authority, Mitchum is at his charismatic best and Ryan is the epitome of sweaty, paranoid villainy. In fact, Ryan was stationed at the same base where Richard Brooks was serving in the marine corps and informed the author of his intention to appear in any film made of his book. Crossfire depicts a nation still grappling with the after-effects of the war but remains optimistic in the ability of ordinary Americans to band together and build a better world.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2432 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
26 Aug 2012
  You're spot on: Crossfire is a far better film about prejudice than the incredibly dry Gentleman's Agreement. Some say Dmytryk was never the same after the Commie witch hunts and his career could have been one of the greats; mind you, he had already directed stuff like Captive Wild Woman, so maybe Crossfire was as good as he'd ever get anyway?
       
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
27 Aug 2012
  I don't know I'd write off Dmytryk's post-witchhunt output entirely: Warlock, The Caine Mutiny, Raintree County, The Young Lions. All top stuff in my book. His European period is undeniably eccentric. I'd like to see his last film, The Human Factor, which pairs George Kennedy with a pre-stardom Kim Cattrall.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: