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|Index||18 reviews in total|
"Try & Get Me"--is a strong entry in the noir canon because it is highly
effective in its use of what we now call 'noir' style elements, and also
because of the undiminished power of its social message.
Some really marvelous acting from Lloyd Bridges (Jerry Slocum, never colder or more threatening than here) and Frank Lovejoy (Howard, the very sympathetic, tragic protagonist) is the main ingredient of the movie's success. Several scenes have a palpable noir atmosphere. Examples: when the kidnapping plot takes a sinister turn, Lovejoy covering his face with his hands in shame and horror; when the sad, lonely manicurist realizes she is in the company of a sought-after killer. Lovejoy's situation could not be more noir: it works so well, because of intelligent, convincing writing. We believe he is desperate for money and Bridges' offer seems almost irresistable. The actor expertly conveys his constant ambivalence about his new "job". Bridges demonstrates a gift for a realistic, malevolent transition, early on, when Lovejoy balks at pulling a robbery. He goes from shirtless, cocksure strutting to dandified indignancy in seconds, transmitting the resentment that so many criminals have for honest citizens.
The film does recall Fritz Lang's magnificent "Fury", and according to sources, both films were based on the same true incidents. And for all the greatness of the Lang opus, "Try & Get Me" holds its own as a depiction of the dark, downward spiral of a desperate man.
I, too, saw this picture as a child, on television, alone, late at night, and I can still recall the powerful impression it made. Truly frightening in its revelations of human depravity and mob violence. Lloyd Bridges' best performance by far, he is absolutely gripping as the deranged and heartless murderer. The scene in which he is in his cell, with the mob breaking into the prison and coming to get him, is stunning in its power. I haven't seen the film in a half century, but I still remember those moments.
I saw this movie as a child, and had a chance to see it recently after more years than I want to admit. I know why it has stuck with me for so many years. This is powerful stuff, even by today's standards. Crime, punishment, yellow journalism, it is all addressed in this finely acted, fast paced drama. Bridges(like you've never seen him before!)turns in an acting 'tour de force' as the ego-maniac, demented hoodlum that kills without reason. Lovejoy is the husband and father caught up in a bad period of economics, Carlson the reporter that must learn that the power of the word is often as swift and deadly as that of the sword. This is high drama, done in the classic 50s film-noir tradition, it is must viewing for anyone that enjoyed "In Cold Blood"(1967)and movies of that genre.
An awesomely powerful look at the divide between social classes in the US circa 1950 culminating in the transformation of law-abiding citizens into a violent, blood-thirsty mob bent on taking the law into their own hands. The mass psychology of mob violence couldn't be better portrayed. I have no idea how this truly moving film could have fallen into obscurity. It's message that violence never resolves conflict is as painfully current today as it was in 1950. Will we never learn from the past? One of the darkest Noir films I've seen. Generates a successive waterfall of emotions spanning the spectrum of human experiences, needs and drives. Well acted and well worth watching. Very highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The subject headline - Try And Get Me! - is the title of the movie, as
I know it.
Man, this is a different kind of film noir story, mainly because of the ending. It centers around two crooks, played by Lloyd Bridges and Frank Lovejoy. Of the two, Bridges is the more fun guy to watch. He and his girlfriend (played by Adele Jergens) have some very good dialog. Lovejoy and his potential girlfriend have some lines that are so bad they are laughable! It almost reminded me of poor Elisha Cook verbally duking it out with tough-gal Marie Windsor: in other film noirs corny but fun stuff.
This was an entertaining film almost from the start. The last 30 minutes are really intense after Lovejoy cracks, stupidly admits his crime and is unfairly accosted as the murderer (he was the accomplice, not the murderer.) Then, the townsfolk, fueled by sensationalist journalism by the local paper, form into a huge lynch mob and storm the jail after the two criminals. The scenes of that, and what happens, are horrific. I am not exaggerating. In fact, it was one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever seen on film, especially for a classic movie. The cheers from the crowd when they kill the two men (which is not shown) are downright chilling.
The film obviously is a powerful indictment on yellow journalism and of mob mentality. The last scene was so distasteful that I have never wanted to watch this movie again!
Despite a catch-penny tile, "Try and Get Me" (aka Sound of Fury)
remains a truly frightening movie whose disturbing imagery lingers long
after the voice-over reassurances subside. The director, Cy Endfield,
was one of the lower profile victims of the Mc Carthy purges. Viewing
this movie now, it's easy to see why.
Family man and returning vet Howard Tyler (played by the always low-key Frank Lovejoy) is recruited into a life of crime by no more than ordinary desires for the American Dream. Desperate and unemployed, he falls into the clutches of a swaggering stickup man superbly played by a preening Lloyd Bridges. (Notice how subtly Bridges bends Tyler to his will on their first meeting at the bowling alley.) Joining Bridges, Tyler finally gets the standing he desires, but the spiral he has entered dooms him and his family's share of America's promise. (Note that conspicuous among the lynch mob's vanguard are fraternity boys, true to the actual event on which the movie is based.)
Throughout, the lighting and photography effectively undermine the facile voice of reason that the producers probably felt obligated to include. Endfield may have wanted an anti- violence film, but the resulting visual landscape implies a world of endemic violence. A sense of powerlessness pervades the film, one that mere admonishments cannot overcome. As a result, the characters appear caught in some terrible metaphysical web from which there is no escape. Events march relentlessly on to a conclusion that remains one of the most harrowing in Hollywood history. This is film noir at its darkest and most frightening.
Something should be noted in passing about the compellingly exotic performance of Katherine Locke as Hazel the manicurist. Watch her facial expressions as this highly repressed plain-faced woman experiences yet one more rejection in what a paste-on smile shows to be a lifetime of rejections. Never has a blossom perched so precariously on a cheap hairdo conveyed as much lower-class longing as hers, while the car ride with a guilt-ridden Tyler could serve as tawdry inspiration for a dozen feminist tracts. What ever became of this unusual actress, I wonder.
Without doubt, however, the film's dramatic high point is the lynch mob. It's one of the most coldly unnerving 20 minutes in movie annals, far surpassing (in my view) the better-known Fury (1936) in its depiction of mass violence. The fact that the mob is made up of ordinary citizens brought to fever pitch is especially telling. Unthinking violence is thus shown as potentially present in us all.
At the same time, the screenplay refuses to take the easy way out. In fact, Howard and Jerry are guilty, unlike, say, the three unfortunate cowboys in The Oxbow Incident (1943). Thus, what repels us is not the fact that innocent men are killed for a crime they didn't commit. That would be too easy. Instead, I think we're unnerved by how the crowd appears to celebrate the brutality of vigilante justice. Endfield succeeds in making this aspect especially ugly. Yes, in a very general sense, justice is servedmurderers are in fact punished for their crimebut if so, justice is served in a particularly barbaric way even if the act does have popular support. In my little book, Endfield has fashioned the most effective of all anti- lynching movies, in part because it doesn't take the easy way out.
That Endfield exiled himself to England and a conventional career with Stanley Baker, shows how much was lost among those purge victims whose disappearance, unlike many others, went generally unnoticed. Just a couple of years after the remarkable "Try and Get Me" (and Endfield's also provocative "Underworld Story"), Hollywood began sanitizing the screen with the escapism of period spectacles, Technicolor westerns, and full-cleavage sex goddesses. Indeed times had changed. As Endfield already knew, the studios had to fight the Cold War too. There would be no more thought-provoking Try and Get Me's.
A bit preachy in the style of the day but a remarkable film. The opening is especially strong. Among the interesting touches, the movie lynch mob is made up mainly of college students wearing their school t-shirts. New York Model Adele Jergens didn't have much of a Hollywood career but she's right on the money in this one. Although the time frame is post WWII, the story is based on an actual lynching in San Jose, California, in 1933. Reporter Royce Brier of the San Francisco Chronicle won a Pulitzer for his account of the event.California Governor James Rolph Jr. was quoted as saying he would like to turn over all jail inmates serving sentences for kidnapping to the custody of "those fine patriotic San Jose citizens, who know how to handle such a situation."
This is a true sleeper in the film noir category, because so few people
saw it in original distribution. There was a legal dispute caused by
the original title, "Sound of Fury" which some felt was too close to
Fritz Lang's "Fury" filmed earlier.
Much of this picture was filmed in Phoenix, and the old city courthouse is very prominent, with it's beautiful copper doors. A true 'dive' nightclub, the "La Jolla Club" later known as the "Guys and Dolls" was used for a key scene.
Lloyd Bridges showed his wonderful range and capability as a wild-eyed psycho, and Lovejoy was tragically sympathetic as a tortured regular guy gone terribly wrong. The cast was very strong.
This is on a par with any of the noir films of the late 40s-early 50s, and holds up today.
The unemployed Howard Tyler (Frank Lovejoy) is desperate for a job
since he is married with children and his wife Judy (Kathleen Ryan) is
pregnant. When he meets the "bon vivant" Jerry Slocum (Lloyd Bridges),
the stranger offers a job position to Howard. Soon he learns that Jerry
is a small-time thief and his job would be to drive the getaway car
after the heist. Howard improves the life of his family and tells that
he is working in the night shift of a factory. Meanwhile, the
journalist Gil Stanton (Richard Carlson) that works in a tabloid is
assigned by the owner to promote the thefts to increase the selling of
newspaper. When Jerry kidnaps the son of a millionaire, he brutally
kills the man and forces Howard to help him to dump the corpse in the
sea. Then he asks for ransom to the family. When the boy is found,
Stanton incites the population telling that the abductors are monsters.
When Howard and Jerry are arrested, a mob threatens their lives in
front of the police station. How will the police officers protect the
"The Sound of Fury" is a film with a simple storyline and an impressive conclusion. The manipulation of the masses by the "brown press" (tabloid) to sell newspapers is impressive and the consequence is scary. The reaction of the uncontrollable violent mob is the best part of this movie and shows the power of the free press, for the good or for the bad. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Justiça Injusta ("Justice Unjust")
Howard Tyler (Frank Lovejoy) is a good honest family man living in
California who just can't catch a break. Struggling financially and
upset that he can't support his family, he falls in with small time
hoodlum Jerry Slocum (Lloyd Bridges) who convinces him to join him in
robbing gas stations. However, things start to get out of control as
they kidnap the son of a wealthy family to hold for ransom. But what
follows will have far reaching consequences for all involved...
Also known as Try And Get Me, The Sound Of Fury is directed by Cy Endfield and is based on the novel The Condemned by Jo Pagano (who along with Endfield also writes the screenplay here). The story is incredibly based on a factual episode known as the Brooke Hart case that occurred in 1933 in San Jose, California. Fritz Lang's 1936 film Fury was also loosely based on the same story, which probably explains why Endfield's film had a name change to Try And Get Me.
A brilliant crime thriller, the film is a damming indictment of uncontrolled violence in small town Americana. Its themes involving class divides, the uncivilization and ignorance of some Americans, moral and social collapse and the irresponsibility's of the press, are all rammed home with force by the soon to be blacklisted director. By definition, Endfield and Pagano have crafted the ultimate social conscious movie. Filling it with relevance that will last the ages, the undervalued Endfield also come up trumps in mood setting and visual flourishes. This be prime film noir too. Tumbling pebbles, a crime shown in reflection, our protagonist standing in the dark ruefully looking out a window, a complete night club sequence shot off kilter, all indelible images that linger long in the memory (Guy Roe on photography). Then there's the finale, a brutal and shocking ending that had Raymond Borde & Etienne Chaumenton (A Panorama Of American Film Noir 1941-1953) proclaiming it to be one of the most brutal sequences in postwar American cinema. They aren't exaggerating, it is, and it caps off a stunning movie.
There can be a reasonable argument put forward that the film asks for pity towards the hoodlums of the piece. But that's a confliction that serves as a call for a deeper thought process with the film. The makers are merely adding drips of fuel to an already incendiary device. Hugo Friedhofer provides the music and Kathleen Ryan, Richard Carlson & Katherine Locke fill out the support cast. However, this is Bridges' movie, Lovejoy is excellent as the increasingly fretful Tyler, but Bridges goes from smarm to charm with ease and then to crazy psychotic in the blink of an eye, an unnerving character given the treatment by the big man. Still awaiting a DVD release, any chance you get to see this film you should grab with both hands. Powerful, intelligent stuff. 9/10
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