1948 / 78:00 / B/W / Crime/ Film Noir
Director: Abraham Polonsky
Starring: John Garfield, Beatrice Pearson, Thomas Gomez
Formats: Available in High Definition restored version.
This 'film noir' classic features John Garfield in a stunning performance as a good man drawn ever deeper into a dirty game, on the premise that he is doing it to help his brother. It shows us in graphic terms the moral disintegration of a character under the crushing weight of his own sense of the psychology of crime. As the up-from-the-bottom lawyer, Garfield displays all that is good about a man who has made himself. By getting involved in the 'number rackets' he begins his slow descent to the bottom. Along the way he falls in love with a decent, but daring young girl, convincingly portrayed by Beatrice Pearson, that tells us all something rather disturbing about lust for the dangerous and unknown. As the New York Times said, "a sizzling piece of work."
"It's a cold, hard, relentless dissection of a bitter, agressive young man who let's himself get in too deep as the lawyer for a "policy racket" gang. And as such it is full of vicious people with whom the principal boy associates, it reeks of greed and corruption and it ends in death and despair. But for all of it's unpleasant nature, it must be said that this film is a dynamic crime-and-punishment drama, brilliantly and broadly realised.
Award Categorie Person Year Status
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS US National Film Registry 1993 won
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