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This dramatization of a factual incident opens in a quiet Connecticut town where a kindly priest is murdered while waiting at a street corner. The citizens are horrified and demand action from the police. All of the witnesses identify John Waldron, a nervous out-of-towner, as the killer. Although Waldron vehemently denies the crime, no one will believe him. District Attorney Henry Harvey is then put on the case and faces political opposition in his attempt to prove Waldron's innocence. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
The names are changed and updated, the story takes place post World War II instead of World War I. But Boomerang is the story of how the man who eventually became United States Attorney General, Homer Cummings, used his prosecutorial office to prove the INNOCENCE of an arrested murder suspect. How often do you see that happen?
In fact Boomerang is a primer for those people who wonder how the Supreme Court under Earl Warren could render such decisions as Escobedo and Miranda which set a few ground rules about interrogating a suspect. Today poor Arthur Kennedy who plays the veteran accused of murdering a priest in cold blood might have lawyered up and never given the confession in the first place.
Under a different name Cummings is played by Dana Andrews with Jane Wyatt as his wife. Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden play the investigating police detectives who do a thorough job and apparently have gotten their man. What the crime consisted of was person unknown in the evening hours on one of the town's main streets firing a pistol into the back of the head of a popular clergyman in the town. Several witnesses do see it, but none are close enough to really be sure.
One witness nearly sinks Kennedy, but when Andrews questions Kennedy before the trial and he tells her that waitress Cara Williams is mad because he dumped her, that sets Andrews thinking about his case. His examination of her on the stand is devastating.
The film was directed by Elia Kazan who got the New York Film Critic's Award for this and his work on Gentleman's Agreement. This was a banner year obviously for Mr. Kazan. Boomerang got one Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay for Richard Murphy.
After over 60 years Boomerang holds up very well and should be required viewing for those attorneys who wish to become prosecutors. It ain't all about another notch in the belt.
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