Crossfire (1947)


1947 is a killer year in noir world: Crossfire, Out of the Past, Born to Kill, Kiss of Death, Nightmare Alley, among many others… The classic that is Out of the Past is undoubtedly the most well-known and beloved of all of those. Crossfire is the second. Edward Dmytryk’s noir, based on the novel The Brick Foxhole by Richard Brooks, deals with anti-Semitism in a way that few movies had up until that point. Interestingly enough, the year’s Best Picture, Gentleman’s Agreement, also deals with the same subject. But back to Crossfire. The murder of Joseph Samuels (Sam Levene) is the main focus of the film, and every character is a suspect, since all of them were with him at the local bar the night he died. Inspector Finlay, played by Robert Young, is called to investigate the case. Meanwhile, Sergeant Keeley (Robert Mitchum) decides to do a little investigating himself, since he suspects his friend Mitch (George Cooper) might be the prime suspect. The film is told in flashback, and every character recounts the events of that fateful night to Finlay and Keeley. Among them are Montgomery (Robert Ryan), Ginnie (Gloria Grahame) and Floyd (Steve Brodie). All of them were seen with Samuels and all of them have something to say about it. One by one, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and the killer is exposed in a climactic ending. Robert Ryan gives arguably his best performance and the best performance in the film, which isn’t easy when you’re in a noir with Gloria Grahame. Crossfire was nominated for Best Picture (the first B movie to receive such an accolade), Best Director, Best Screenplay (John Paxton), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Ryan) and Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame). Get your hands on this beauty and enjoy!

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