Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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This one is classic film noir from the second is starts. Premiering the same year as Gentleman's Agreement, both films are among Hollywood's first to deal with Antisemitism, though this one much less apologetically. It is a B picture that features some A list actors. Headed by three Roberts (Mitchum, Young and Ryan), the movie sets out to solve the murder of a Jewish guest in hotel where several GI's have been frequenting, and who are among the prime suspects. Gloria Grahame (a personal favorite) turns in an Oscar nominated performance as well.
Capt. Finley (Young) drives the hard lesson home, "That's history Leroy. They don't teach it in school, but it's real American history just the same." "Hating is always the same, always senseless. One day it kills Irish Catholics, the next day Jews, the next day Protestants, the next day Quakers. It's hard to stop. It can end up killing men who wear striped neckties. Or people from Tennessee."
Sadly it seems an American lesson we haven't learned from as some Americans still set out to spread hatred. The old targets sadly being joined by transgender people, Muslims and others some sixty years since this movie was made. As an interesting side note, the book that this movie is based upon (The Brick Foxhole) featured the murder of a homosexual, not a Jew. The Hay's Codes of the era wouldn't allow for a movie about homophobia so the victim was changed to a Jew, and the bigotry repackaged as Antisemitism.
The performances are better than the script.
Up until the last 20 minutes I kept thinking wth was this movie nominated. Then in the last like 20 minutes there is some amazing and very relevant dialogue about racism and hate and immigrants. The whole part about the wife loving her husband unconditionally and like la di dah about her husband seeing a prostitute the night before is a bunch of BS-good try tho. But hang with the movie til the end thats when the bullshit side stories and the whole murder mystery are finally worth it. It was so relevant to what's going on now if u replace Jews with blacks, and military with cops. Even still we have anti-semitism and military probs with cover-ups in same unit. But it was handled so well and what u should do at the end of the day that wow I can see why this was nominated even if the first half was trite noir murder mystery crap of the 40s. I was shocked how ahead of its time this movie was considering so many old films have black face and garbage like that throughout.
Good, solid film noir. With Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan together hard to go wrong.
Of the two prestige pictures to deal with anti-Semitism that were produced in 1947 this is the far superior film as while Gentleman's Agreement (1947) has intellectual pretensions this blends social commentary with an entertaining thriller effectively. There is novelty to seeing exciting stars like Robert Mitchum and Gloria Grahame so early in their careers and pleasant to find a film from this time that does not feel the need to stretch out it's relatively thin plot over several hours. Modern viewers will likely enjoy the film more than other message movies because it gets to the point and is unusually frank for a film made under the restrictions of Hays Code.
The Jewish Joseph Samuels, Sam Levene, is brutally murdered by his caring girlfriend Miss Lewis, Marlo Dwyer, who reports his murder and speaks to the laconic Captain Finlay, Robert Young. Finaly centers his investigation around a group of recently demobilized American GIs that Finlay and Lewis had met in passing. Corporal Arthur Mitchell, George Cooper, would appear to be the most likely suspect as he had a long conversation with Samuels over drinks, knew that he was Jewish and was facing depression due to having been separated from his wife. While the police try to track him down his close friend Sergeant Peter Keeley, Robert Mitchum, attempts to clear his name despite having promised Finlay that he would bring his friend in to custody. Keeley's investigation leads him to prostitute Ginny Tremaine, Gloria Grahame, who Mitchell had agreed to spend the night with due to his loneliness. Tremaine is not forthcoming with information about Mitchell's location during the time of the murder and Finaly's intervention complicates Keeley's efforts further. In the background fellow GI Montgomery, Robert Ryan, may be more sinister than he initially appears.
The main draw of the film is the performances as while being against discrimination against Jewish people and any mistreatment of them is a worthy message it is one that has been presented many times. The film does a decent job at getting this message across as we are fully in support of the kind, fatherly Levene and have an intense hatred for those who murdered him because of their prejudice against him based on his race but that is hardly what sets it apart from other films of it's ilk. We aren't left to consider whether it is acceptable for a gentile to pretend to be a Jew and then lecture a Jewish person about their own race and identity as in the controversial Gentleman's Agreement and there is no sense of a gentile savior existing in this film so that makes it better than it's competition. The screenplay is also careful to position the issue at the center of the story as the gentiles are forced to confront their own prejudice and consider their own values in relation to this case as in the situation that Finlay faces when his superiors urge him not to investigate the case because Samuels is Jewish.
Fortunately Mitchum is exceptionally good in one of his first leading roles as he plays the sort of upstanding guy that most of the characters he would go on to play would have menaced. He adds an edge to his character that makes him more appealing than your average hero as in providing information about his failing marriage to his wife he sounds resigned to the fact that they will not be reconciling when or if he returns home. The tenderness he displays in his scenes with Cooper is surprising as he does seem to be genuinely invested in his friend's relationship struggles and his sympathy for him seems to come from a deep place. Mitchum never makes him a sap but we know that he really does care for his friend and his dogged pursuit of the truth is convincing because of this. We are taken on this journey with him and something about his intriguingly odd face that would seem to be tough and terrifying draws you in. The supporting cast all give good turns but Grahame in particular stands out as a standoffish prostitute with her fierce defense of her own profession and refusal to give up information staying true to the Grahame public persona.
An excellent movie. At first, the movie seems like a straight ahead film noir. It's not hard to tell who the killer is but the motive remains uncertain. Eventually, it is discovered that a hate crime is involved. I like how the movie subverted my expectations like all good film noir should. Robert Ryan is truly creepy in this and embodied his violent character fully. Robert Young's performance was subtle but strong where it needed to be. This is one of the best movies of the 1940s and does a better job at dealing with anti-Semitism than more well known films like Gentleman's Agreement.
I bought this socially conscious crime thriller based on the packaging and the actors. I had never heard of it, and that's a crying shame because this film deserves a wide audience, even today. It should be re-made with a more contemporary script because its message, regarding anti-Semitism and prejudice is more relevant than ever.
Crossfire was adapted from the Richard Brooks novel The Brick Foxhole, in which the murder concerns a homosexual, whereas the film dropped the book's sub-theme of homophobia to focus on the more cinematically "acceptable" topic of anti-Semitism. That being said, I am surprised the original idea hasn't been filmed in the post-censorship era.
I love the way the murder is filmed in shadows and thus the audience is "in the dark" as to the identity of the murderer until the climax. Although the killer's body language is instantly recognizable and the film has its characters drift to the same conclusion before the halfway point, the tension comes from proving it and saving the police's initial target, an innocent soldier.
I could not imagine a better cast for the topic. I love Gloria Grahame in every noir she's been in, Mitchum is his usual laconic best, and Robert Young is the epitome of trustworthiness. It's tough seeing Robert Ryan, who I like in heroic roles, as the bigoted villain in this film.
Crossfire didn't win any of the 5 Academy Awards for which it was nominated, which is a shame. Even though the similar Gentlemen's Agreement won Best Picture, Crossfire is superior due to its operating on two levels: an excellent murder mystery manhunt and a "message picture."
Director Edward Dmytryk's stark, hard-hitting examination of a hate crime was way ahead of its time in 1947, and has lost neither its topicality nor its punch in the years since.
Crossfire is a good movie about anti-semitic attitudes, but what a lot of people don't know is that the book the movie was based on, the brick foxhole, had absolutely nothing to do with anti-semitism.
Good plot and screenplay. Ingenious solution.
Well acted with great mood,Considered a B movie but kicks the snot out of most thriller/mysteries of today..