Crossfire (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Crossfire
Crossfire213.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Produced by Adrian Scott
Screenplay by John Paxton
Based on the novel The Brick Foxhole 
by Richard Brooks
Starring Robert Young
Robert Mitchum
Robert Ryan
Gloria Grahame
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography J. Roy Hunt
Edited by Harry Gerstad
Production
company
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • July 22, 1947 (1947-07-22) ( Premiere-New York City )[1]
  • August 15, 1947 (1947-08-15) (U.S. )[1]
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $678,000[2]

Crossfire is a 1947 film noir drama film which deals with the theme of anti-Semitism,[3][4] as did that year's Academy Award for Best Picture winner, Gentleman's Agreement. The film was directed by Edward Dmytryk[5] and the screenplay was written by John Paxton, based on the 1945 novel The Brick Foxhole by screenwriter and director Richard Brooks. The film features Robert Mitchum, Robert Young, Robert Ryan and Gloria Grahame. It received five Academy Award nominations, including Ryan for Best Supporting Actor and Gloria Grahame for Best Supporting Actress.[6] It was the first B movie to receive a best picture nomination.[7]

Plot[edit]

After he's called in to investigate the brutal killing of Joseph Samuels (Sam Levene), who was found dead at his home, police investigator Finlay (Robert Young) discovers there may be a murderer among a group of demobilized soldiers, who had been seen with Samuels and his female friend at a hotel bar that night.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Keeley (Robert Mitchum), concerned that his friend Mitch (George Cooper) may be the prime suspect, decides to investigate the murder to clear his friend's name. To both investigators, each suspected soldier relays his version of that night through flashback. The first to step up is Montgomery (Robert Ryan) and the rest are Floyd (Steve Brodie), Mitch, and a possible witness Ginny (Gloria Grahame).

As Finlay and Keeley slowly piece together the fragments of that night, they realize there is one possible motive that may have driven the killer to beat an innocent to death, which prompts Finlay to set up a trap to expose the killer.

Cast[edit]

Premiere and U.S. military distribution notes[edit]

The film premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City on July 22, 1947.[8]

The U.S. Army only showed the film at its U.S. bases. The U.S. Navy would not exhibit the film at all.[8]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

When first released, the staff at Variety magazine gave the film a positive review, writing, "Crossfire is a frank spotlight on anti-Semitism. Producer Dore Schary, in association with Adrian Scott, has pulled no punches. There is no skirting such relative fol-de-rol as intermarriage or clubs that exclude Jews. Here is a hard-hitting film [based on Richard Brooks' novel, The Brick Foxhole] whose whodunit aspects are fundamentally incidental to the overall thesis of bigotry and race prejudice...Director Edward Dmytryk has drawn gripping portraitures. The flashback technique is effective as it shades and colors the sundry attitudes of the heavy, as seen or recalled by the rest of the cast."[9]

The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, lauded the acting in the drama, and wrote, "Mr. Dmytryk has handled most excellently a superlative cast which plays the drama. Robert Ryan is frighteningly real as the hard, sinewy, loud-mouthed, intolerant and vicious murderer, and Robert Mitchum, Steve Brodie and George Cooper are variously revealing as his pals. Robert Young gives a fine taut performance as the patiently questing D. A., whose mind and sensibilities are revolted—and eloquently expressed—by what he finds. Sam Levene is affectingly gentle in his brief bit as the Jewish victim, and Gloria Grahame is believably brazen and pathetic as a girl of the streets."[10]

Critic Dennis Schwartz questioned the noir aspects of the film and discussed the cinematography in his review. He wrote, "This is more of a message film than a noir thriller, but has been classified by most cinephiles in the noir category...J. Roy Hunt, the 70-year-old cinematographer, who goes back to the earliest days of Hollywood, shot the film using the style of low-key lighting, providing dark shots of Monty, contrasted with ghost-like shots of Mary Mitchell (Jacqueline) as she angelically goes to help her troubled husband Arthur."[11]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 83% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on twelve reviews."[12]

The film made a profit of $1,270,000.[13]

Awards[edit]

Wins

  • Cannes Film Festival: Award, Best Social Film (Prix du meilleur film social); 1947.[14]
  • Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Edgar; Best Motion Picture, John Paxton (screenwriter), Richard Brooks (author), Dore Schary (producer), Adrian Scott (associate producer) and Edward Dmytryk (director); 1948.

Nominations, 20th Academy Awards

Other nominations

Difference from the novel[edit]

Richard Brooks wrote his novel while he was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps making training films at Quantico, Virginia and Camp Pendleton, California. In the novel, the victim was homosexual. As told in the film The Celluloid Closet and in the documentary included on the DVD edition of the Crossfire film, the Hollywood Hays Code prohibited any mention of homosexuality because it was seen as a sexual perversion. Hence, the book's theme of homophobia was changed to one about racism and antisemitism. The book was published while Brooks was serving in the Marine Corps. A fellow Marine by the name of Robert Ryan met Brooks and told him he was determined to play in a version of the book on screen.[15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Little Foxes: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 420
  3. ^ Variety film review; June 25, 1947, p. 8.
  4. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; June 28, 1947, p. 102.
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "Crossfire". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  6. ^ Crossfire at the Internet Movie Database.
  7. ^ Staff. "1947 Academy Awards, Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  8. ^ a b Brown, Gene (1995). Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywood and the Movie Industry from Its Beginnings to the Present (paperback). New York: MacMillan. p. 186. ISBN 0-02-860429-6. 
  9. ^ Variety. Film review, 1947. Last accessed: February 26, 2008.
  10. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, July 23, 1947. Last accessed: February 26, 2008.
  11. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, February 18, 2000. Last accessed: February 26, 2008.
  12. ^ Crossfire at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: June 9, 2008.
  13. ^ Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. p. 222
  14. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Crossfire". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  15. ^ Daniel, Douglass K. (2011). Tough as Nails: The Life and Films of Richard Brooks Univ. of Wisconsin Press. p. 34
  16. ^ A detailed account of adapting The Brick Foxhole for the screen and the producers' battles with the censors is in James Naremore (1998). More Than Night: Film Noir in its Context. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 114-123. ISBN 9780520212947 OCLC 803190089

External links[edit]