I spent much of July catching up on some female directed films from earlier in 2020 that I missed, as well as still working my way through Criterion Channel’s Tell Me collection (I only have one film left!!) and honestly that made for a great month of viewing. As always, after the cut you can see everything I watched in July, a breakdown by decade, and a few favorites.
Police Lt. Frank Kafka: All I have to do is catch him.
Dr. James G. Kent: You’ll catch ’em, and they’ll kill ’em, and everyone will forget about it. . . that is until the next one comes along. Then it will start all over again.
Bobby Drake: Sam, one thing you must understand, John is a poet. It’s taken me two months to discover it and therefore he loves his silence.
Cousin Sam: I’m not so sure he proves it.
Bobby Drake: That’s because he’s a moralist. You won’t get a straight answer from him. He’s storing up his opinions for another day. He’s also a dreamer. A seeker for the meaning of life with capital letters.
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.