Product DetailsThis drama was one of the first major-studio efforts to confront anti-Semitism (beating the Oscar-winning Gentleman's Agreement by several months), and it features a standout performance from Robert Ryan as a bigoted soldier on the run. Monty Montogomery (Ryan) is a violent and unstable soldier who, while out on a pass, goes on a drinking spree with three buddies, Floyd (Steve Brodie), Arthur (George A. Cooper), and Leroy (William Phipps). While boozing it up in a tavern, the four men meet Joseph Samuels (Sam Levene), and end up at his apartment for a party. Monty, however, has a fierce hatred of Jews, and he later goes into a drunken rage in which he beats Joseph to death. Monty's friends can barely remember the incident through their liquor-shrouded memories, but they recall just enough to make themselves scarce when police detective Capt. Finlay (Robert Young) begins making the rounds looking for information on Joseph's murder. Sgt. Kelly (Robert Mitchum), a soldier who knows the four men, begins to suspect that something is up, and he works with Leroy's wife and Finlay to help ferret out the killer in his ranks, while Monty kills Floyd when he becomes convinced that he's going to talk to the authorities. While director Edward Dmytryk showed real bravery in bringing this story to the screen, it had greater repercussions than he might have expected; the film's controversial themes led to Dmytryk's denunciation by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy-era investigations of the 1950s. Luckily, unlike other filmmakers who suffered similar accusations by HUAC, Dmytryk continued to work steadily through the '50s and '60s.
Store CommentsFilm historians Alain Silver and James Ursini carry on a lively wall-to-wall discussion about film noir, the movie itself, its sources, the blacklist (which hovered over the careers of several key players in this movie, in front of and behind the camera), the Red Scare, and the era that gave rise to pictures such as Crossfire and the violent political reaction to them. They're aided with archival interview quotes from the director, Edward Dmytryk; between the three voices, the lively talk, and some good editing, the commentary track ends up as entertaining as the movie. There's also an appended mini-documentary about the making of Crossfire that cover some of the same territory, but the main bonus feature is that audio track, which is worth the price of the disc and the equivalent of a month or two of film history classes, and a lot of fun, too.
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