HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
   
 
Newest Articles
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
   
 
  Crossfire Hate is like a gun
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: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
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 3019 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: