Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Act of Violence
This 1948 film noir is often cited in the top echelon of the film noirs ever made, and rightfully so. I'd seen parts of it shown on TCM, but this time I saw the entire movie on its DVD release. The film features roles played by Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Mary Astor, and a very young looking Janet Leigh later famous for her murder-in-the-shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho. I'm not a big Van Heflin fan, but he turns in a tense, conflicted performance as a World War II American officer who ratted out his fellow POWs to the Nazis at a prison camp. The war is finished, and Heflin is married to Janet Leigh. He also enjoys a good job and is a solid citizen. Robert Ryan plays one of the surviving American POWs who vows to kill Heflin to get revenge. I like Robert Ryan and wonder if he'd be better suited for the lead role played by Heflin. At any rate, Heflin undergoes a guilt crisis and wanders through the sleazy streets of L.A. Mary Astor plays the harlot-with-a-golden-heart who tries to help him out. Quite enjoyable fare for the genre.