As we continue with Noirvember, I bring one of my favorites from the era, Edward Dmytryk’s Crossfire. I read one critic who said it is more of a “message film” than a film noir and I think that is kind of a ridiculous statement, as it assumes the two are mutually exclusive. If you’ve seen The Celluloid Closet, then you know that originally the crime in this film was perpetrated out of homophobia, rather than anti-Semitism. Under the Hays Code, clearcut mention of homosexuality was prohibited because it was consider “sexual perversion.” I’m going to write a little more about the origins of the film after the cut. Crossfire was nominated for five Academy Awards, though it didn’t win any: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Robert Ryan, Best Supporting Actress Gloria Grahame, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best picture that year were The Bishop’s Wife, Great Expectations, Miracle on 34th Street and winner Gentleman’s Agreement (which is also about anti-Semitism). Crossfire was one of the twenty highest-grossing films of 1947, along with three other noirs: Body and Soul, Possessed and Dark Passage.
Ginny: Okay, where were you when he needed you? Maybe you were someplace having beautiful thoughts. Well, I wasn’t. I was in a stinkin’ gin mill, where all he had to do to see me was walk in, sit down at the table and buy me a drink and that’s all I know about it. I didn’t ask him if he killed anybody.
Lukey: There’s something to be said about him before he dies.
Tober: And about all of us.
Lukey: I can see it, Tober.
Tober: Take care; you might find something you don’t understand that’ll frighten you.
Lukey: I understand what I see in him.
Tober: What is it?
Lukey: It’s the truth about us all.
Tober: Is that all?
Lukey: He’s doomed.
Tober: So are we all.