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A poor and alienated young man (Farley Granger) who is driven to murder when a priest refuses to give is deceased mother an expensive funeral. The film explores the crippling poverty that has prevented the youth from marrying or providing his mother with enough comforts, and has led to his crime. Dana Andrews plays the compassionate assistant of the slain priest who brings about the tormented killer's repentance. Written by
Ned Moore assaults the priest, Father Thomas Roth, in the rectory and as the priest falls to the floor, his Roman collar falls open and hangs loose. He stands up to continue the fight with his collar fully intact. See more »
Surprisingly bleak noir style for a film of the early '50s...
That a film of this sort should come from Samuel Goldwyn is in itself quite a surprise, for he was much more apt to produce something with an uplifting feeling (THE BISHOP'S WIFE, ENCHANTMENT) than a grim study of the lower fringes of society. He gave it some box-office assurance by combining DANA ANDREWS (as a priest) and FARLEY GRANGER (as a victimized youth from the slums). But in telling a story of how the poor boy becomes a criminal on the run, it fails to inject enough ingredients to make the screenplay work on any level.
And that, too, is surprising, since the screenplay is the work of Philip Yordan and it is directed in bleak, noir fashion by none other than Mark Robson. But neither of the two priest characters are well developed--the testy, aging priest who is murdered and his young assistant (played by DANA ANDREWS) are not given the amount of detail they were in the novel to explain their background and motives. This is equally true of the tormented young man who rebels against the Catholic Church's treatment of his father's death and his mother's funeral. Granger, however, is good in his edgy role.
Bleak and uncompromising, it nevertheless appeared to be a film ahead of its time and would probably be more appreciated today by fans of gritty film noir, as it captures the streets, the noise, and general atmosphere of a very blighted city.
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