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Author Topic: Crossfire (1947)  (Read 2973 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: March 02, 2012, 08:52:43 AM »

I am gonna start a thread about Crossfire (1947) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039286/

First I will re-post the one previous post about Crossfire from the Film Noir Discussion Thread http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg144830#msg144830

 by cigar joe: Crossfire 1947 Director: Edward Dmytryk with Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Paul Kelly, Sam Levene, George Cooper, a pretty good film entertaining. Ryan is a racist who murders Levene because he is a Jew, Cooper is accused of it. Young and Mitchum seek the truth. Gloria Graham is a cutie B-girl in this one with a small part that she really makes the most of, gotta love her. 8/10

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Cast, courtesy of imdb:


Robert Young    ...   Finlay
    Robert Mitchum    ...   Keeley
    Robert Ryan    ...   Montgomery
    Gloria Grahame    ...   Ginny
    Paul Kelly    ...   The Man
    Sam Levene    ...   Samuels
    Jacqueline White    ...   Mary Mitchell
    Steve Brodie    ...   Floyd
    George Cooper    ...   Mitchell
    Richard Benedict    ...   Bill
    Tom Keene    ...   Detective (as Richard Powers)
    William Phipps    ...   Leroy
    Lex Barker    ...   Harry
    Marlo Dwyer    ...   Miss Lewis



(Please post all future comments on Crossfire in this thread, not in the Film Noir Dicussion Thread).

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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 08:54:04 AM »

I didn't enjoy the movie that much, but it's hard to accurately judge it, since its subject matter (racism, specifically Jew-hating) was unprecedented in 1947, but in 2012, has been done a billion and one times.

THIS DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS

From the moment we are introduced to the servicemen -- one of whom we know must have killed Samuels -- Montgomery (Robert Ryan) is the one who is the asshole. I was thinking there must be a twist coming; after all, the movie wouldn't make it so obvious with the one clearly nasty dude being the killer, would it? Well, about halfway through, we find out in a straightforward manner that it indeed was Montgomery: This movie is not a "Mystery" or a "whodunit," but it's really all about the racism aspect; it's not about the Who, but the Why.


Since the movie was made in 1947, soon after America learned of the horrors of the Holocaust, I assumed that was the point for the movie, to discuss how hatred can lead to an atrocity, as a reference to the Holocaust. But after watching the special features on the dvd -- an 8-minute discussion on the movie, plus the movie commentary; both feature clips of interviews with Dmytryk) -- I realize I was wrong about that. In fact, the story was taken from a book about a queer who was killed because of his sexual orientation; but since the Breen Office would never allow a queer to be depicted in a movie, they changed the story to be about a Jew instead. (Nevertheless, my guess is that in 1947, a story involving Jews would probably resonate more with the pubic, considering that it was so soon after the Holocaust; but that is no more than a guess).

Anyway, the scene that is probably the key one -- involving the Police Chief Finlay (Robert Young) trying to convince Leroy (William Phipps) to help him catch Montgomery -- I found to be very annoyingly long and preachy. Finlay gives a whole long speech to the dim-witted Southerner (which, btw, is itself a nasty stereotype in a movie that is supposedly about condemning racism Grin) about how Finlay's grandfather was killed because he was an Irish Catholic, and how racial violence is wrong no matter who it is against, and how easily racism can lead to racial violence, etc. I found it to be a pretty dumb scene; I mean, does someone have to explain to us why racism is a bad thing?

Again, this sort of thing was unprecedented at the time, so I can't say it was a BAD movie. All I can say is that I did not find it very enjoyable, but maybe I'd have felt different if I would have lived in 1947. (btw, 1947 was also the year that Jackie Robinson became the first black to play Major League Baseball).

As uninteresting as I found the subject matter, the movie is only watchable cuz of the acting, which is very good across the board, led by the "3 Roberts" (Young, Mitchum, and Ryan; the latter was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). One performance I couldn't stand was Gloria Grahame as the whore, she was so annoying with all that high-pitched whining (she inexplicably was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this movie. Wtf do the idiots at the Academy know?) I liked her in In a Lonely Place, but found her very annoying here.

The movie had 3 other Oscar nominations: for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. It did not win any of the 5 nominations.


A couple of other notes:

a) Gentlemen's Agreement, which was released shortly after Crossfire (and won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress; and was nominated for 5 other Oscars) also dealt with the subject of Jew-hatred. Those 2 movies, released a few months apart, were the first two to deal with this issue -- but Crossfire was released first. This is all according to the Special features on the Crossfire dvd, which leads me to my next point....

b) if you get the dvd, I recommend you check out both the short piece on the special features (I think it's about 8 minutes), and the film commentary. Both are very interesting, and feature clips from interviews done with Dmytryk. Dmytryk would, not long after this picture was released, become blacklisted as one of the Hollywood ten, go to prison for contempt of Congress, and not make pictures in America, before returning a  few years later (he was gone for a far shorter period of time than some of the others). Dmytryk and others discuss all this; it's pretty interesting. And this movie, made shortly before the congressional hearings, certainly didn't help Dmytryk's standing with the House Un-American Activities Committee, considering that it discussed a serviceman doing these terrible racist acts more associated with Fascists, and addressing America's racial history, etc.

Overall,  I do not recommend this movie. But IF you get the dvd, then I think you'll find the special features interesting.




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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 09:46:37 AM »

It's a message picture that suffers from the fact that its message is one no one can disagree with (unless, maybe, you're a member of Hamas). There's just not anything here to challenge the typical viewer. Ryan's performance, however, continues to be enjoyable.

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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 10:00:01 AM »

It's a message picture that suffers from the fact that its message is one no one can disagree with (unless, maybe, you're a member of Hamas). There's just not anything here to challenge the typical viewer. Ryan's performance, however, continues to be enjoyable.

I think what bugs me is that it's stated in such a facile, superficial way as to undermine its point. All prejudices are not the same (except on the most basic level) and it's very naive and immature to take that approach. Of course, by changing the victim from gay to Jewish the filmmakers demonstrated they don't get the difference between homophobia and anti-Semitism.

As a noir it's competent but there's nothing that's been done better in a lot of other films. As a message film it's more or less worthless.

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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 10:18:36 AM »

I agree with you guys about the "message," and I did not enjoy the film; (personally, my rating would be around the 5.5/10 range) but the reason I haven't bashed the film as much as you guys have (and didn't even "officially" rate it) is cuz I understand that I didn't live in that era and therefore can't appreciate how groundbreaking this movie was at the time.

Imagine you were alive in 1947 when the film was released, at a time when (if you believe the dvd's special features) this stuff had never been spoken about openly in a movie (and who knows how much it was spoken about publicly, in general?) Would you have felt different about it? Who knows.

Also, is the message that racism is bad in and of itself, or that the racism is bad because it can lead to violence/murder?

Another interesting thing I was thinking about: While historically, Jews have suffered from racism more than any other group, in America in 1947, the group suffering from racism the most was certainly blacks. Was there any particular reason they would make the movie about a Jew rather than a black? The easy answer would be that this was just after the Holocaust, when the public was so shocked by the atrocities against Jews, that this message about the horrors that racism can lead to would be easy to gain acceptance.

But was it something deeper than that? Is there a particular reason that it did not involve blacks?
Was it perhaps because the people involved in the film themselves believed that there as nothing wrong with segregation?

Was it because they they preferred to talk about a type of racism -- Jew-hating -- which was done much more on an individual than an institutional level, rather than addressing racism against blacks, which at the time was very much institutional across various levels of government? ie. they preferred to talk about the problem with hatred in an individual's heart, rather than address an official, institutional inequity that was part of the fabric of the government and the way of life, not just in the hearts of hateful individuals?? Did they feel it would be easier to condemn hateful thoughts (and the actions they lead to) in a man's heart, as opposed to the officially proclaimed status quo of public life? Is it because the American viewer was not yet ready for an assault on what was the way of life in many areas (including the military, in which blacks fought i separate unites during World War II). Were the people who would be accepting of an assault on the hatred that goes in the hearts of many individuals, not be accepting of an assault on institutional society as a whole?

On a similar note, would it have seem almost hypocritical for a movie criticize a serviceman for racism toward blacks while the military itself kept blacks in separate units from whites?

Would the movie have enjoyed the same success if it was about a black, or did too many of them view that as morally acceptable to allow such a movie to gain widespread acceptance?

Or am I reading way too much into it, and they just happened to choose one group rather than the other, but not that there was any particular reason they did not use a black?

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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 03:33:29 PM »

The original story concerned the murder of a homosexual. That was an issue even more closeted (so to speak) in the '40s than racism so changing it was a no-brainer. It was probably safer to focus on the prejudice most associated with the Nazis than one implicating Americans.

Although anti-Semitism can take on a racial component (as in Nazi Germany) it's generally not framed in the same terms. Fear/hatred of Jews (generally) takes on different dimensions than fear/hatred of races, eg. conspiracy theorizing of Jewish control rather than being "inferior" in a moral or intellectual sense. Homophobia is another matter entirely. This is where I think the film's tolerance angle falls apart.

There's probably something to the docu claim, though Gentleman's Agreement came out the same year with the same message. But I only give a film so much credit for being of its time. If the movie can't transcend the period it was made in it's nothing more than a museum piece, a curio. Crossfire at least has a decent noir angle to deflect from its stilted preachments but it's general merits aren't enough for me to give it high marks.

Personally I find Basil Dearden's Victim a much better (and certainly more honest) variant on this kind of story.  

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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 04:29:05 PM »

The NY Times review

By BOSLEY CROWTHERA.W.
Published: July 23, 1947

An unqualified A for effort in bringing to the screen a frank and immediate demonstration of the brutality of religious bigotry as it festers and fires ferocity in certain seemingly normal American minds is due to Producers Dore Schary, Adrian Scott and everyone else at RKO who had a hand in the making of "Crossfire," which came tothe Rivoli yesterday. For here, without hints or subterfuges, they have come right out and shown that such malice—in this case, anti-Jewish—is a dark and explosive sort of hate which, bred of ignorance and intolerance, can lead to extreme violence.

And an equally high mark for lacing this exceedingly thoughtful theme through a grimly absorbing melodrama is due the film's makers, too: For, again in a manner which advances the realistic techniques of the screen, they have blended both theme and story-telling in a cinematically stimulating way.

Slowly and apparently incidentally, the theme invades the plot, which seems, at its outset, to be no more than a standard murder yarn. A man, suspected of a murder, refers to the victim as a "Jew boy"—that is all. A little later, this same man—an ex-soldier—lets slip some further anti-Jewish prejudice. And then the audience comes to realize, as does the district attorney probing the case, that here is the sole motive for the murder: a vicious and drunken hate.

But then, as this realization is shockingly brought to the fore, there emerges an equally-strong resistance to the unmasking of the suspected man. That is the curious confusion which certain of his soldier pals created, out of sheer misguided loyalty, to prevent his unqualified arrest. And thus is evolved a drama in which intolerance, supported by loyalty, is pitted against social justice and the righteousness of humanity.

In developing this stinging drama, Director Edward Dmytryk has employed a slow, aggravatingly-set tempo and a heavily-shaded pictorial style. He has worked for moods of ominous peril to carry the hot ferocity suggested in the script which John Paxton has written from Richard Brooks' novel, "The Brick Foxhole." Incidentally, the motive for murder which was brought out in the book has been changed for this present film version—and to remarkably advantageous effect.

Also, Mr. Dmytryk has handled most excellently a superlative cast which plays the drama. Robert Ryan is frighteningly real as the hard, sinewy, loud-mouthed, intolerant and vicious murderer, and Robert Mitchum, Steve Brodie and George Cooper are variously revealing as his pals. Robert Young gives a fine taut performance as the patiently questing D. A., whose mind and sensibilities are revolted—and eloquently expressed—by what he finds. Sam Levene is affectingly gentle in his brief bit as the Jewish victim, and Gloria Grahame is believably brazen and pathetic as a girl of the streets.

Indeed, "Crossfire" would warrant an A for accomplishment all around if it weren't for an irritating confusion of detailed exposition at the start—a jumble of names and identities which oppress a watcher's mind—and for a few illogical police slips and occasional stretches of heavy talk. Some of the slow dramatic tension is lost through these unhappy faults. But they can be generally forgiven for a thematically articulate film.

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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 04:43:10 PM »

Thanks CJ.

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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 04:51:22 PM »

For what it's worth:

Quote
Ryan's breakout film, Crossfire is a somewhat awkward cross between a noir and a social message film. Its attack on biogtry and intolerance may have been groundbreaking in its time, but the film seems rather stilted and preachy today.

Jewish GI Samuels (Sam Levene) is murdered, and detective Finlay (Robert Young) believes some of his service mates to be responsible. Finlay initially suspects Private Mitchell (George Cooper), who conveniently cannot remember the night in question, but with the reluctant help of Sergeant Keeley (Robert Mitchum), Finlay turns his attention towards Montgomery (Robert Ryan), a loudmouth who slowly reveals a nasty strain of anti-Semitism.

Leftist director Edward Dmytryk (later one of the Hollywood Ten) really wants us to know that prejudice is bad. Unfortunately, the point is made in a regrettably hamfisted way. The movie takes the easy route of stressing that Samuels was a great guy and there was no reason to kill him. An eloquent speech by Finlay portrays all intolerance as one and the same, a gross, patronizing oversimplifcation of a complex issue. It's especially telling that the biggest and most pervasive intolerance of post-war America - racism - is not once mentioned; it's much easier to show that the intolerance practiced by Nazi Germany is bad, I suppose. What may have seemed daring and provocative in 1947 now seems very much a product of its time.

As a straight noir, Crossfire is decent enough. Dmytryk's direction is rather unremarkable, although he makes fine use of Harry Gerstad's interesting editing, with its distinctly dreamlike flashbacks. The story is straightforward but its moral ambiguity is interesting: the soldiers are reluctant to help Finlay's investigation out of service solidarity, and peripheral characters - especially a call girl (Gloria Grahame) and her obsessive husband (Paul Kelly) - seem equally seedy. Without employing gangsters or usual genre cliches, Dmytryk successfully creates a rather disquieting and cynical view of '40s America.

Ryan excells in his star-making turn: no one can play a charming creep better than him, even if his guilt is never really in doubt. He would play a nearly-identical character in Bad Day at Black Rock eight years later, which did a somewhat better job with a similar story and the same issues. Robert Young (Western Union) is the nominal protagonist, and he's good if rather stiff. Robert Mitchum has a rather weak secondary role and doesn't make much of an impression. Gloria Grahame (It's a Wonderful Life) gets a meaty part as a hard-nosed call girl.

6/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2010/08/robert-ryan-noir-extravaganza.html

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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2012, 02:10:00 AM »

cj: thanks for posting B.C,'s review: I got a kick out of how while he mentions that the victim was changed from the book to a Jew in the movie, he doesn't mention what he was in the book; were you not even allowed to mention a queer by name on the pages of the New York Times  Grin Grin Grin Grin



Groggy,

1) Glad  see your review alluded to my point about how the the movie addressed the sort of bigotry -- Jew-hatred --  that in 1947 was easy to see how the devastating effects of, rather than addressing what would have been a much more daring subject for an American audience at the time: racism against blacks. Of all the possible reasons I gave in my previous post for why they may have chosen a Jew rather than a black, here is one that I just thought of now, and perhaps is the most sinister of all: maybe the filmmakers just plain didn't think there was anything wrong with how blacks were treated, ie. that they, along with so many other people at the time, considered the disparate treatment of blacks to be "normal," and therefore it never crossed their minds to use a black?

2) Also, I am glad to see you mentioned Ryan's similar role in Bad Day at Black Rock -- I was thinking of that the entire movie, and frankly was very surprised that it wasn't mentioned a single time in an otherwise very solid film commentary on the dvd.

3) I want to address your point where you criticize the film for conflating various forms of bigotry -- specifically, the anti-Irish bigotry that the Detective uses to persuade Leroy to go along with his plan, and the anti-Jewish bigotry that was the cause of the murder. Why do you think they are so different that the movie is wrong to conflate them?

 I mean, sure, there are many differences you can point out between Jew-hating and Irish-hating. (eg. one may be based on bloodlines, the other may be based more on anti-immigrant xenophobia, and many other possibilities). But the salient point of the Detective's big speech -- that any sort of bigotry, hating anyone just because of the group he belongs to, not judging people based on their individual merit but as a part of one group or another, etc. -- is very wrong and can lead to violence, and ( as much as I thought that preaching was annoyoing) I have no problem with that comparison. While I myself noted and previously expounded upon the fact that that it was telling that they chose a Jew instead of a black, I thought that the Detective's comparison between the anti-Irish sentiment his family experienced and the Jew-hatred that led to Samuel's death was appropriate enough to make a point about how wrong it was, and to convince Leroy to go along with the plan to trap Montgomery. I don't think that Jew-hatred and Irish-hatred have to come from the "same place" in order for one to make a comparison between them to bring out a point about the dangers of bigotry. Furthermore, the detective wanted to give an example to make it more real: both to show wht he himself was so concerned with this issue (cuz his grandfather was killed due to bigotry), as well as to make it all clearer to a Southern boy who may have never even met a Jew before. Finally, I believe the Detective points out that the reason those people hated his grandfather was because he was a Catholic, while most Americans were Protestant; so in that sense, it is a direct comparison between two instances of bigotry both based on hatred of the victim's religion.
So I am not sure why you are so concerned with the fact that Jew-hatred and Irish-hatred aren't exactly the same thing.

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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2012, 02:46:31 AM »

cj: thanks for posting B.C,'s review: I got a kick out of how while he mentions that the victim was changed from the book to a Jew in the movie, he doesn't mention what he was in the book; were you not even allowed to mention a queer by name on the pages of the New York Times  Grin Grin Grin Grin



Groggy,

1) Glad  see your review alluded to my point about how the the movie addressed the sort of bigotry -- Jew-hatred --  that in 1947 was easy to see how the devastating effects of, rather than addressing what would have been a much more daring subject for an American audience at the time: racism against blacks. Of all the possible reasons I gave in my previous post for why they may have chosen a Jew rather than a black, here is one that I just thought of now, and perhaps is the most sinister of all: maybe the filmmakers just plain didn't think there was anything wrong with how blacks were treated, ie. that they, along with so many other people at the time, considered the disparate treatment of blacks to be "normal," and therefore it never crossed their minds to use a black?

2) Also, I am glad to see you mentioned Ryan's similar role in Bad Day at Black Rock -- I was thinking of that the entire movie, and frankly was very surprised that it wasn't mentioned a single time in an otherwise very solid film commentary on the dvd.

3) I want to address your point where you criticize the film for conflating various forms of bigotry -- specifically, the anti-Irish bigotry that the Detective uses to persuade Leroy to go along with his plan, and the anti-Jewish bigotry that was the cause of the murder. Why do you think they are so different that the movie is wrong to conflate them?

 I mean, sure, there are many differences you can point out between Jew-hating and Irish-hating. (eg. one may be based on bloodlines, the other may be based more on anti-immigrant xenophobia, and many other possibilities). But the salient point of the Detective's big speech -- that any sort of bigotry, hating anyone just because of the group he belongs to, not judging people based on their individual merit but as a part of one group or another, etc. -- is very wrong and can lead to violence, and 9as much as I thought that preaching was annoyoing) I have no problem with that comparison. While I myself noted and previously expounded upon the fact that that it was telling that they chose a Jew instead of a black, I thought that the Detective's comparison between the anti-Irish sentiment his family experienced and the Jew-hatred that led to Samuel's death was appropriate enough to make a point about how wrong it was, and to convince Leroy to go along with the plan to trap Montgomery. I don't think that Jew-hatred and Irish-hatred have to come from the "same place" in order for one to make a comparison between them to bring out a point about the dangers of bigotry. Furthermore, the detective wanted to give an example to make it more real: both to show wht he himself was so concerned with this issue (cuz his grandfather was killed due to bigotry), as well as to make it all clearer to a Southern boy who may have never even met a Jew before. Finally, I believe the Detective points out that the reason those people hated his grandfather was because he was a Catholic, while most Americans were Protestant; so in that sense, it is a direct comparison between two instances of bigotry both based on hatred of the victim's religion.
So I am not sure why you are so concerned with the fact that Jew-hatred and Irish-hatred aren't exactly the same thing.


My quick thoughts:
1. It may probably be something along that line. Way too liberal a viewpoint for the times.
3. Using the Southern boy would probably not have worked if the character killed was a black or a homosexual.

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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2012, 02:53:55 AM »

My quick thoughts:
Using the Southern boy would probably not have worked if the character killed was a black or a homosexual.

That's an interesting point. But the Southern boy in the movie was pretty dim-witted and easily convinced; he didn't seem like the biased type, unless you are gonna make the point that ALL Southerners hated blacks. Besides, even if your point is correct, did they have to use a Southerner? I understand they wanted to use someone who was tormented by Montgomery for being dumb, and who was easy to convince, and they played on the stereotype of the "dumb Southerner." But would it not have worked if they had used some dimwit who was not a Southerner?
And did it strike you as hypocritical for a movie that is supposedly a statement about the evils of bigotry to have a character who fits another nasty stereotype the "Dumb Southerner"? (One question I asked earlier is: is the movie against bigotry per se, or only against bigotry cuz of what it can lead to? If the movie is against bigotry per se, then it is hypocritical to use the sterotype of the "Dumb Southerner";  if it's only against bigotry because it can lead to violence, then maybe it didn't bother them cuz they figured "no one is killed just cuz they are a dumb Southerner"?) of course, you can answer all this with one simple statement: Although the movie was groundbreaking in addressing the evils of bigotry, it still didn't have all the sensibilities we have in 2012.

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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2012, 04:22:23 AM »

That's an interesting point. But the Southern boy in the movie was pretty dim-witted and easily convinced; he didn't seem like the biased type, unless you are gonna make the point that ALL Southerners hated blacks. Besides, even if your point is correct, did they have to use a Southerner? I understand they wanted to use someone who was tormented by Montgomery for being dumb, and who was easy to convince, and they played on the stereotype of the "dumb Southerner." But would it not have worked if they had used some dimwit who was not a Southerner?
And did it strike you as hypocritical for a movie that is supposedly a statement about the evils of bigotry to have a character who fits another nasty stereotype the "Dumb Southerner"? (One question I asked earlier is: is the movie against bigotry per se, or only against bigotry cuz of what it can lead to? If the movie is against bigotry per se, then it is hypocritical to use the sterotype of the "Dumb Southerner";  if it's only against bigotry because it can lead to violence, then maybe it didn't bother them cuz they figured "no one is killed just cuz they are a dumb Southerner"?) of course, you can answer all this with one simple statement: Although the movie was groundbreaking in addressing the evils of bigotry, it still didn't have all the sensibilities we have in 2012.

You know I just don't know, perhaps they could have just used a dimwitt, but we are looking at in in hindsight, perhaps with 50 some odd years of cinematic stereotyping they were using the tools available that the public was immersed and familiar with to drive a point home, the "Dumb Southerner" is not a racially based stereotype like say a "Dumb Pollack"  and perhaps the lesser of the evils.

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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 05:46:23 AM »


Groggy,

1) Glad  see your review alluded to my point about how the the movie addressed the sort of bigotry -- Jew-hatred --  that in 1947 was easy to see how the devastating effects of, rather than addressing what would have been a much more daring subject for an American audience at the time: racism against blacks. Of all the possible reasons I gave in my previous post for why they may have chosen a Jew rather than a black, here is one that I just thought of now, and perhaps is the most sinister of all: maybe the filmmakers just plain didn't think there was anything wrong with how blacks were treated, ie. that they, along with so many other people at the time, considered the disparate treatment of blacks to be "normal," and therefore it never crossed their minds to use a black?
I'm not Groggy, but I'll chime in anyway. It probably did cross someone's mind to replace the homosexual with a black, but that might have proved alientating to viewers in several markets. Anti-semitism in America never took on the virulence it had in Europe, and after the Nazi's attrocities were revealed American sympathies were almost entirely with the victims. Yeah, there were still people like the Birchers, but they didn't represent any sizeable group--certainly not a sizeable movie-going group. But there were plenty of potential ticket-buyers in 1947 that would have stayed away from a film about black-white race relations. So Hollywood did what it always has done--it treated a "controversial" subject in a way that wouldn't generate negative boxoffice.

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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2012, 06:53:24 AM »

I'm not Groggy, but I'll chime in anyway. It probably did cross someone's mind to replace the homosexual with a black, but that might have proved alientating to viewers in several markets. Anti-semitism in America never took on the virulence it had in Europe, and after the Nazi's attrocities were revealed American sympathies were almost entirely with the victims. Yeah, there were still people like the Birchers, but they didn't represent any sizeable group--certainly not a sizeable movie-going group. But there were plenty of potential ticket-buyers in 1947 that would have stayed away from a film about black-white race relations. So Hollywood did what it always has done--it treated a "controversial" subject in a way that wouldn't generate negative boxoffice.

 Afro

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