ACT OF VIOLENCE
1948, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: Fred Zinnemann

A dark masterpiece made during the Metro tenure of producer Dore Schary, this is emblematic film noir. Psychically scarred Robert Ryan stalks war hero Van Heflin from sylvan Big Bear Lake to the nocturnal underbelly of postwar downtown L.A. Robert Surtees’ stunning cinematography captures the dark side of the postwar boom, as well as superb performances from the entire cast, including a jaw-droppingly gorgeous 20-year-old Janet Leigh and a revelatory Mary Astor as a blowsy, street-wise hooker. Director Fred Zinnemann’s only foray into film noir is one of the best of the classic era.


CROSSFIRE
1947, Warner Bros., 86 min, USA, Dir: Edward Dmytryk

Robert Mitchum, Robert Young and Robert Ryan lead the cast in this noir-tinged drama, among the first Hollywood films to confront anti-Semitism. When a Jewish man is murdered, a homicide detective (Young) focuses on a group of former soldiers, while an Army sergeant (Mitchum) conducts a parallel investigation to clear his friend of the crime. Costarring Gloria Grahame, CROSSFIRE earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.


BERLIN EXPRESS
1948, Warner Bros., 87 min, USA, Dir: Jacques Tourneur

Robert Ryan, Merle Oberon and Paul Lukas head an international cast in the first Hollywood film shot on location in Allied-occupied postwar Germany. An ad-hoc cadre of allied officials, headed by train to a peace conference, suddenly become detectives when Germany’s most outspoken peace activist goes missing. A solid thriller, and a remarkable historical document of its time.


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