Out of the Past: The Films of Robert Mitchum


Edward DmytrykUSA86 minutes1947B&WEnglish

Feb 20
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    Hailed as a liberal skewering of right-wing intolerance, this film noir par excellence about the investigation of a hate crime feels all the more relevant today — even though it changes the source novel's homosexual victim to a Jewish man, due to the Production Code's strictures against the very mention of same-sex desire. When a kindly local is found brutally murdered in his Washington apartment after entertaining a group of drunken soldiers, a pipe-smoking police inspector (Robert Young) starts searching for the culprit amongst a group of demobbed G.I.s who are passing through. Fearing that his amnesiac buddy is the prime suspect, a cynical army sergeant (Robert Mitchum) scours the town to clear him of the crime before the cops get to him. Completing Crossfire's trinity of Bobs is that intense purveyor of ruthless malice Robert Ryan, who received one of the film's five Oscar nominations for his performance as a vicious, bigoted soldier. (Ryan later regretted taking the role, feeling that it typecast him forever as a villain.)