Act of Violence | Chicago Reader

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Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, From Here to Eternity) directed this postwar noir story (1949) for MGM. Robert Ryan is an avenging angel in raincoat and fedora, limping inexorably toward respected California businessman Van Heflin to punish him for his treachery in a German prison camp during the war. Aiding the guilt-ridden traitor are the late Janet Leigh as his flinty wife and Mary Astor as a jaded hooker, both excellent. The studio's polished production works against the moral rot at the heart of the story, but a strong script by Robert L. Richards (Winchester '73) cuts deep into the tortured ethics of the two former POWs. 82 min.

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