Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Two Films Noir

Jane Greer "Out of the Past" 1947.
Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum look like they were carved out of marble in this film noir.  Greer is the object of gangster Kirk Douglas' affection, on the run, when detective Robert Mitchum is hired to find her.  Of course he falls in love with her, forcing himself to go underground to hide from Douglas.  Years later Douglas finds him, and Mitchum and Greer are reunited, bringing up their past, which they are unable to reconcile with the present.  Things end poorly for both Greer and Mitchum.  Good, classic noir - you can't escape your past misdeeds, no matter how handsome you are.
Gloria Grahame "Crossfire" 1947.
 The plot of "Crossfire" is pretty straight forward; a soldier is falsely accused of killing a civilian, who happens to be Jewish.  The police investigating the murder, led by Robert Montgomery and helped by soldier Robert Mitchum, discover it was a fellow soldier, played by Robert Ryan, and his motive was simply prejudice.  Gloria Grahame plays the dance hall girl whose cuckold husband provides the alibi for the innocent soldier. 
Watching this film again I was most struck by a speech late in the film made by the civilian cop, Robert Montgomery.  Convincing a young soldier to help in capturing Ryan, Montgomery explains how the Irish were once prejudiced against, in the way other groups continue to be victims; and he also explains how guns are banned "because they are dangerous."  It's an interesting and convincing speech. 

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