BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK
1955, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: John Sturges

Set in a mythical desert town post-WWII, the film follows one-armed combat veteran Spencer Tracy as he seeks to discover the whereabouts of a Japanese-American comrade. De facto town leader and full-time racist bully Robert Ryan and his thuggish pals, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine, are the stateside fascists in this suspense-filled classic from director John Sturges and screenwriter Millard Kaufman. Co-starring Anne Francis, Walter Brennan, Dean Jagger and John Ericson.


ACT OF VIOLENCE
1948, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: Fred Zinnemann

A dark masterpiece made during the Metro tenure of producer Dore Schary, this is emblematic film noir. Psychically scarred Robert Ryan stalks war hero Van Heflin from sylvan Big Bear Lake to the nocturnal underbelly of postwar downtown L.A. Robert Surtees’ stunning cinematography captures the dark side of the postwar boom, as well as superb performances from the entire cast, including a jaw-droppingly gorgeous 20-year-old Janet Leigh and a revelatory Mary Astor as a blowsy, street-wise hooker. Director Fred Zinnemann’s only foray into film noir is one of the best of the classic era.


CROSSFIRE
1947, Warner Bros., 86 min, USA, Dir: Edward Dmytryk

Robert Mitchum, Robert Young and Robert Ryan lead the cast in this noir-tinged drama, among the first Hollywood films to confront anti-Semitism. When a Jewish man is murdered, a homicide detective (Young) focuses on a group of former soldiers, while an Army sergeant (Mitchum) conducts a parallel investigation to clear his friend of the crime. Costarring Gloria Grahame, CROSSFIRE earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.


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