Wednesday, January 18, 2012


A civilian is murdered in his apartment in Washington D.C. and the suspect list has been narrowed down to three G.I.'s on leave. When a surly private (Robert Mitchum) is called in by the police inspector (Robert Young) to assist in the investigation, it soon becomes clear that hatred was the motive with all fingers pointing to the wily officer (Robert Ryan) who has done everything imaginable to extricate himself from the situation. "Crossfire" is a dark and intelligent treatise on racism while also succeeding as a whodunit and a brilliantly shot film noir. Edward Dmytryk, directing from a novel by "In Cold Blood" filmmaker Richard Brooks, wonderfully utilizes shadows and angular shots to tell his story, which seems relevant and cutting edge even by today's standards. The trio of Roberts who star in the film all fill their roles nicely, with Mitchum in a tough, brooding performance, Young as the pragmatic inspector, and Ryan a particular standout as the cunning and virulent racist. Gloria Grahame also has a memorable bit as a call girl who provides an alibi for one of the suspected soldiers. "Crossfire" is a brave film that was ahead of its time which also manages to be an artistic triumph as well.