Shortly before he was driven into exile by the Hollywood blacklist, the talented and neglected John Berry made this 1951 film, the last of John Garfield, who died of a heart attack at 39 (many believe in part because of pressures related to his own blacklisting). It's a fitting and powerful testament to the actor's poignancy and power as a working-class punk. Here he plays a hoodlum fleeing a bungled robbery, falling for a young woman (Shelley Winters), and desperately holding her family hostage while oscillating wildly between mistrust and a desire to be part of this family circle. Enhanced by an effective script (Guy Endore and Hugh Butler adapted a Sam Ross novel), superb cinematography by James Wong Howe, and a keen sense of working-class manners, this is a highly affecting thriller that draws us relentlessly into its plangent moral tensions; with Wallace Ford, Selena Royale, Gladys George, and Norman Lloyd.
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Presented by the Music Box and the Film Noir Foundation, this week-long festival features 35-millimeter prints of film noir classics and rarities.