Crossfire is a frank spotlight on anti-Semitism. Producer Dore Schary, in association with Adrian Scott, has pulled no punches. There is no skirting such relative fol-de-rol as intermarriage or clubs that exclude Jews. Here is a hard-hitting film [based on Richard Brooks’ novel, The Brick Foxhole] whose whodunit aspects are fundamentally incidental to the overall thesis of bigotry and race prejudice.
There are three Roberts (Young, Mitchum and Ryan) all giving capital performances. Young is unusual as the detective captain; Mitchum is the ‘right’ sort of cynical GI; and Ryan a commanding personality, in this instance the bigoted soldier-killer, whose sneers and leers about Sam Levene and his tribe are all too obvious.
The pic opens with the fatal slugfest in Levene’s apartment, when his hospitality is abused and Ryan kills him. Director Edward Dmytryk has drawn gripping portraitures. The flashback technique is effective as it shades and colors the sundry attitudes of the heavy, as seen or recalled by the rest of the cast.
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1947: Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actor (Robert Ryan), Supp. Actress (Gloria Grahame), Screenplay