The story of a murder trial where a Mexican boy is accused of the death of a Caucasian girl. The two-faced attorney (Arthur Kennedy) who takes the boy's case is only interested in defending him so he can exploit his Communist-backed organization for their own underhanded purposes. He and his organization bring in an idealistic law professor (Glenn Ford) who agrees to represent the boy in court. Written by
This film did well at the box office, earning MGM a profit of $518,000 ($4.79M in 2017) according to studio records. See more »
Though the film was made in 1955, it takes place in 1947. However, in the scene where Abbe, Barney and David are driving through town after their first visit with Angel in prison, most of the cars visible in the background are 1950s or late 40s models, including brand new 1955 cars seen in an automobile dealership window. See more »
[Blake and Castle are discussing the fund-raising for Angel Chavez's defense fund]
Look, it's not only the way you are raising the money, it's the people that are raising it.The All Peoples Party. Barney, half of them are a bunch of Communists, you know that!
Bernard 'Barney' Castle:
I'd say sixty percent, and some of the others are cheating the Party out if its dues.
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This film fascinates precisely BECAUSE of its confused treatment of the theme of bigotry. It does not only refer, under a thin disguise of name, to Senator McCarthy - but also to the Ku Klux Klan. To me, its chief value is that it illustrates rather startlingly the ethical strangeness of a mid-fifties America apparently seeking a definition of justice while still beset with considerable self-doubt concerning its own institutions.
Few films of the period make so explicit the names of the antagonists; that is what sets it apart.
On the level of pure melodrama, it is entertaining, fast-paced and convincingly acted. The opening scene suggests an erotically-charged no man's land, namely the beach community of San Juno, anno 1947. This is the scene that I think will remain in my memory, because it precedes all the rhetoric, legalistic and otherwise, which never quite connects with the reality of spontaneous behaviour - simply, groping in the dark.
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