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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: drinkanddestroy on May 21, 2017, 12:56:34 AM

Title: All My Sons (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 21, 2017, 12:56:34 AM
All My Sons (1948) 7/10


Universal Vault Series DVD available on Amazon

Some of the interior scenes are filmed in noir style. One scene in particular has lots of the noir Venetian blind shadows ... IMDB and Wikipedia call this a noir.

Joe Keller . . . . . Edward G. Robinson
Chris Keller . . . . . Burt Lancaster
Kate Keller . . . . . Mady Christians
Ann Deever . . . . . Louisa Horton
George Deever . . . . . Howard Duff
Herbert Deever . . . . . Frank Conroy
Jim Bayliss . . . . . Lloyd Gough
Sue Bayliss . . . . . Arlene Francis
Frank Lubey . . . . . Henry Morgan
Lydia Lubey . . . . . Elisabeth Fraser

Based on the play by Arthur Miller. Screenplay by Chester Erskine. Directed by Irving Reis.

I am a huge Edward G. Robinson fan. Louisa Horton is awful.



The movie is set somewhere in Illinois, in 1947. Joe Keller and his son Chris own a successful factory.

Three years earlier, Larry Keller – Joe's son and Chris's brother – disappeared while off fighting in World War II. Joe and Chris have made peace with the fact that Larry is almost certainly dead, but Kate Keller – Joe's wife, and the mother of Chris and Larry – refuses to believe that Larry is dead. Chris has fallen in love with Ann Deever, who used to be Larry's fiancee, and wants to marry her.

Moreover, Ann's father, Herb Deever, used to be Joe Keller's business partner, in the factory, which during the war had manufactured parts for Air Force planes. One shipment of airplane cylinders that the factory had shipped to the Air Force had been defective, which had resulted in 21 pilots dying. There had been a trial, and Herb Deever had been convicted and is now in prison, while Joe Keller had been acquitted, though not everyone is convinced that he was really innocent.

Now, if Chris Keller and Ann Deever are to go forward with their marriage plans, it'll cause all sorts of problems: For one, Kate Keller refuses to believe that her son Larry, to whom Ann was engaged, is dead. Furthermore, Ann's brother George, refuses to allow Ann to marry a Keller, as he believes that Joe Keller was in fact the guilty person in the faulty-cylinders scandal.


From wikipedia:

All My Sons is based upon a true story, which Arthur Miller's then mother-in-law pointed out in an Ohio newspaper. The news story described how in 1941–43 the Wright Aeronautical Corporation based in Ohio had conspired with army inspection officers to approve defective aircraft engines destined for military use. The story of defective engines had reached investigators working for Sen. Harry Truman's congressional investigative board after several Wright aircraft assembly workers informed on the company; they would later testify under oath before Congress. In 1944, three Army Air Force officers, Lt. Col. Frank C. Greulich, Major Walter A. Ryan, and Major William Bruckmann were relieved of duty and later convicted of neglect of duty.

The criticism of the American Dream, which lies at the heart of All My Sons, was one reason why Arthur Miller was called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the 1950s, when America was gripped by anti-communist hysteria. Miller sent a copy of the play to Elia Kazan who directed the original stage version of All My Sons. Kazan was a former member of the Communist Party who shared Miller's left-wing views. However, their relationship was destroyed when Kazan gave names of suspected Communists to the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare.

Here is Bosley Crowther's review in the NY Times, from March 29, 1948:

In the light of the recent Congressional investigation of Hollywood, exposing as it did, among other things, the desperate caution of the higher echelons controlling films, it is not surprising that the stage play, "All My Sons," should have undergone a major alteration in its transfer to the screen.

The play, as we understand it, made the sharp and unmistakable point that there is something horribly rotten about a system which permits huge profits to be made out of war. And in showing the ultimate come-uppance of a man who made a personal pile by selling defective materials to the Air Forces, through the failure of which young fliers died, it clearly indicated that the individual was not alone to blame, but also the whole social structure which tolerates and even encourages private greed.

But that is a rather forward idea and, extended a bit, it might suggest that there are faults in the capitalist system—which, of course, would be downright treasonable. So, in putting together the screen play, Chester Erskine very carefully left out—no doubt, on higher instructions—any such general hints and confined the drama's indictment to the greed and narrow-mindedness of one man.

On that restricted level, the film, which opened at Loew's Criterion on Saturday, still lands a fairly staggering right-hook on the jaw of the genus profiteer. And, through a fine performance by Edward G. Robinson, it certainly reveals a character. For dramatically it tells a story, in restrained but intense emotional terms, of a man who is discovered by his own son to have been a deliberate dealer in faulty war goods—a man who can't understand the frightfulness of his social irresponsibility, who thinks that so long as he "did it for the family" and got away with it, everything is okay.

In the role of this rugged individualist, Mr. Robinson does a superior job of showing the shades of personality in a little tough guy who has a softer side. Arrogant, ruthless and dynamic in those moments when his "business" is at stake, he is also tender and considerate in the presence of those he loves. Clearly he reveals the blank bewilderment of a man who can't conceive in the abstract the basic moral obligation of the individual to society. The only weakness in his performance—which was probably by design—is that he approaches and makes his exit, like some of his erstwhile gangsters, trailing clouds of sympathy.

As the right-thinking son of this corrupt man. Burt Lancaster is surprisingly good and, although he appears a bit dim-witted at times, that is not implausible. Louisa Horton is natural as his sweetheart and Mady Christians plays the mother intensely. Irving Reis' direction is slightly stilted in some scenes but generally matches the tempo of a fluid script.
Title: Re: All My Sons (1948)
Post by: Jessica Rabbit on May 21, 2017, 09:17:23 AM
This one is still on my to-watch list.
I always find Bosley Crowther's reviews fascinating, but not necessarily in a good way. So often to me they miss the mark completely, or maybe now we have the benefit of hindsight. This review though is fine.
Title: Re: All My Sons (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 22, 2017, 09:26:15 PM
I generally can't stand Crowther. I have no idea why anyone wanted to read his shit. I only post his reviews because I like to share reviews that were  published at the time of a film's release.  I don't know of anyone else's reviews that are available online.
Title: Re: All My Sons (1948)
Post by: Jessica Rabbit on May 23, 2017, 06:29:00 AM
I have no idea how that guy got a gig writing reviews for the NYTimes. My favorite ridiculous review is the one for The Underworld Story (1950). It's a movie about dirty press tactics, and it seems it hit the bullseye with Crowther. Talk about getting pissy. (