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.
Recently remastered and released by the Warner Archive, Born to Be Bad is an early, but important effort from landmark director Nicholas Ray. The film was released three months after Ray’s breakthrough masterpiece In A Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. While this film seems a lesser effort in comparison, I think much of the fault lies with the studio; Born To Be Bad had five writers and it feels like it. That said, this remaster is beautifully done and the disc comes with the original theatrical trailer, as well as a newly found and restored alternate ending. More on that after the cut.