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ACT OF VIOLENCE (1948)


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Act of Violence (1948)

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This was a wonderful discovery! Yesterday I was home sick with the flu and TCM just happened to be playing several Van Heflin films throughout the day and this aired sometime late morning/early afternoon. One of the finest film noirs I have seen and wished I had recorded it. (bangs head on wall)

 

The film stars Van Helfin as Frank R. Enley as a former war vet. Now adjusted to civilian life with a wife (Janet Leigh) and child. Living in a nice home in a quaint suburban town. Life seems very happy and rosy for Enley until one of his war buddies shows up at the door. Robert Ryan does a superb job playing Joe Parkson, a disabled vet who's commanding officer during the war was Frank Enley. What we soon come to learn is, unbeknown to Enley's wife or anyone else for that matter, that Enley had betrayed his men by informing the commanding CO of the Nazi POW camp they were interned in that the boys had dug a tunnel and were planning a breakout. With good intentions he believed he was trying to save lives but knew in his heart that the Nazi CO would kill the escapees and did. All except Parkson who survived. Parkson, the only one who knew the truth of what Enley had done was now tracking him down to kill him and seek justice and revenge for the betrayal.

 

The film gets very heavy and intense at times and Ryan is absolutely creepy as he drags his injured leg across the ground and you can hear him coming. This movie reminds me a lot of Cape Fear but in some ways perhaps is better.

 

There is also a remarkable performance by Mary Astor as a barroom floozy who helps Enley escape Parkson temporarily. What's amazing is to find out that at the same time she was filming this movie she was also filming her role in Little Women where she played Marmee March. Two completely opposite roles and yet she does them to perfection.

 

The movie has a tragic but somewhat redemptive ending. A must see!

 

I give this 3 1/2 out of 4 stars

 

Kevin

 

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I love this film, which I discovered some time ago and recommended it to a friend and he feels the same about it as I do. Its one of director Fred Zinnemann's earliest films. I read that Mary Astor walked on the set of LITTLE WOMEN in her ACT OF VIOLENCE outfit and shocked everyone on the LITTLE WOMEN set.

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