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Crossfire (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 August 1947 (USA)
0:57 | Trailer

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A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of demobilized soldiers he met in a bar. But which one? And why?


Edward Dmytryk


John Paxton (screenplay), Richard Brooks (adapted from a novel by)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Robert Young ... Finlay
Robert Mitchum ... Keeley
Robert Ryan ... Montgomery
Gloria Grahame ... Ginny
Paul Kelly ... The Man
Sam Levene ... Samuels
Jacqueline White ... Mary Mitchell
Steve Brodie ... Floyd
George Cooper ... Mitchell
Richard Benedict ... Bill
Tom Keene ... Detective (as Richard Powers)
William Phipps ... Leroy
Lex Barker ... Harry
Marlo Dwyer ... Miss Lewis


Homicide Capt. Finlay finds evidence that one or more of a group of demobilized soldiers is involved in the death of Joseph Samuels. In flashbacks, we see the night's events from different viewpoints as army Sgt. Keeley investigates on his own, trying to clear Mitchell, to whom circumstantial evidence points. Then the real, ugly motive for the killing begins to dawn on both Finlay and Keeley. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Murder Without Motive! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 August 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cradle of Fear See more »


Box Office


$250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Executive producer Dore Schary's first film as the short-lived head of production at RKO. He resigned from the studio in July 1948 due to clashes with its new owner, Howard Hughes, and soon accepted an offer to take over as head of production at MGM. See more »


At about 22 minutes in, the shadow of the camera and dolly is visible just to the right of the hotel door, behind the MP, as Bill Williams enters the hotel to meet Keeley in the coffee shop. See more »


Finlay: How well do you know him?
Keeley: I've tried to like him, but he's not my type.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Referenced in Where Danger Lives: White Rose for Julie (2007) See more »


Written by Cecil Mack, Lew Brown, and Ford Dabney
Performed Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band
Played in Red Dragon dance hall when Mitchell first meets Ginny
See more »

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User Reviews

Cradle Of Fear.
10 February 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

A man by the name of Joseph Samuels is found brutally murdered in his apartment. It would appear that Samuels was visited by a group of drunken soldiers the previous evening, and with one of them seemingly missing, the evidence certainly implicates the missing soldier. But as detective Finlay digs deeper into the case he finds that they could be barking up the wrong tree, and that this crime is dealing with something desperately sad and vile; anti-Semitism.

Crossfire was born out of the novel written by Richard Brooks, adapted by John Paxton and directed by the shrewdly excellent Edward Dmtryk. Crossfire (originaly titled Cradle Of Fear) is a taut and gripping picture that boldly tackles anti-Semitism. Tho the makers were forced to tone down the story from the original source, the novel is about homosexual hatred as opposed to anti-Semitism, what remains, largely due to RKO supremo Dore Schary and producer Adrian Scott, is a sort of creeping unease that drips with noirish style.

The cast features three Bob's; Young, Mitchum and Ryan, with noir darling Gloria Grahame adding the emotional female heart. Tho only third billed, it's Robert Ryan's picture all the way, his portrayal as the bullying, conniving Montgomery is from the top draw and perfectly showcases the talent that he had in abundance. Ryan had good cause to give Montgomery some of is best work for he had served in the Marine's with Richard Brooks himself, both men having discussed the possibility that if the novel was to be made into a film, then Ryan wanted in and to play Montgomery. Thus the genesis of Ryan's career as weasel types was well and truly born!

Gloria Grahame also puts in a wonderful and heartfelt turn, which is all the more remarkable since she was being plagued by her abusive husband at the time, one Stanley Clements. He was known to be violent towards her and his constant presence around the set irked other members of the cast, but Grahame, probably channelling real life emotion, became the character of Ginny and shone very bright indeed. Both Bob Mitchum and Bob Young come out with flying colours as well, to really seal the deal on what proves to be a smartly acted picture.

Tho Crossfire was released before the other 1947 anti-Semitic picture, Gentleman's Agreement, and raking in over a million and a quarter dollars at the box office, some of its thunder was stolen by the Academy Award winning picture from Fox Studio. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ryan), Best Supporting Actress (Grahame), Best Director and Best Screenplay, it won nothing. But critics of the time hailed it as a brilliant shift in American Cinema, and today it stands tall, proud and dark as a bold and excellent piece of work. 8.5/10

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