Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Written by John Paxton
Suggested by my professor, and nominated for a handful of Academy Awards in 1948 such as Director and Picture, this film was sure to please, or at least be great for my paper. The film itself started out with a bang: a great, suspenseful scene with interesting lighting and camera angels/movements. A man is killed in an argument/tussle in an apartment and now the cops are on it to figure out just what happened. At first it isn’t about Anti-Semitism, or Jews at all, but again, we soon learn that it’s everything to do with what is going on. Released just after World War II, the film is extremely relevant to the times.
Despite the great beginning of the film, it soon begins to labor in its extended exposition. The stage is set for long conversations and often uninteresting plot turns, or better plot development. I was able to figure out where it was going and why it was going there way too early to have me enjoy the film. Sometimes the characters are confusing since there is a handful of soldiers who are involved in the thing, but in essence it is an extremely simple story that takes the longest 86 minutes to develop and eventually end. The message soon becomes in your face and heavy handed, but that really didn’t bother me as much as the pallid camerawork and acting. What started so promising soon becomes somewhat hammy and visually uninteresting.
This review has turned harsh and I didn’t mean it to because in the end I felt it was decent film, it just did nothing outside the box to make me interested further than I needed to be and nothing to catch my eye for me to remember it by or bring me back to it. But as I said, it was quite the goldmine for my project and I hope that coupled with Gentleman’s Agreement it will be even better.
Commentary on Anti-Semitism
Although the film itself may only be borderline interesting plot an execution-wise, my professor did well in suggesting this film because it is chock full of material I will be able to use for my paper. The obvious is the motive in the murder(s) by Montgomery being simple hatred that is unexplainable and without reason. Add to it the fact that it is set and was released soon after World War II which included the Holocaust and there is more than meets the eye, especially since these men are men who served in the war. The message is clear: Anti-Smeitism, or any form of hatred, is nonsense and should be done away with because it helps no one and is quite idiotic. The film is clearly stating the fact, especially with Findlay’s story about his grandfather, that no matter what happens, hatred seems to exist. Throughout history, people have proven to be great factors in the development of this nation and th Irish Catholics and the Jews are no different, yet they are still hated, even after such atrocities as the Holocaust.