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FORCE OF EVIL shows us that small-time graft is less dangerous than big-time rackets that have the law, the trust of the public, and the appearance of respectability on their side. Ultimately, the crime is the system itself, and the very philosophical underpinnings of capitalism are liable. And while Abraham Polonsky's courage in addressing these themes is remarkable, the degree of craft he exhibits as a rookie director is nothing short of astonishing. With Ira Wolfert, he co-authors a script so rich in its ability to expose the poverty of our dreams, and so stylized and impossibly catchy in its dialogue, that it can't help but feel more real than the real. With this script, and uncommon directing talent, Polonsky coaxes career-best performance from John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, and Marie Windsor. And with Director of Photography George Barnes, Polonsky frames some of the most beautiful and narratively rich shots in film history. FORCE OF EVIL may be the noir that most perfectly captures the ambivalent and fearful relationship Americans had to the great cities and great institutions that were the sclerotic backbone of the country after WWII. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at http://outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Direct download: OOTP_2008_03_01_FOE.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:50 AM
Comments[3]

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  • I have just watched Force of Evil for the second time. My first time hardly counts because my consciousness of noir is on a much higher level nowadays. Thought I would get the Noir of the Week take on the movie and was redirected here. Before I listen to the Clute-Edwards review, I thought I\'d post a few comments. FOE (you know, the enemy) is visually as much grey as it is noir. Think of Morse\'s suit and his offices, Wall Street, and the lighthouse. Grey reminds me that some things can be dually interpreted. They may be good or bad. One doesn\'t often see people as convincingly scared and consumed with fright in film noir as Leo Morse, Bauer and then Joe Morse are portrayed. Force of Evil is very crisp and clean. The scene changes were edited smoothly. Judging from the high quality copy I got from a DVD subscription company, one would think the movie was made yesterday in B&W using modern equipment and processes. Okay, enough of me. I will listen to you. Thanks, Dave

    posted by: David Detroit on 2009-05-23 20:57:00

  • An excellent pod guys. Force of Evil is a real personal favourite and one of the very best noirs, i think. Garfield is truly fantastic, spitting out his lines. The script is peppered with really unusual repetitions (\"Policy!\"). I liked your points about the strange lightness and - as you said - disembodiment of the ending. There seems something ancient or ritualistic in \'going down there\' to face his brother\'s body. My favourite scene in the film is the ruby scene in the car and made me think about how men and women often \'connect\' in cars in noir, how it\'s a transient place that allows them to experiment with their characters, swap roles, and find a voice. Someone with initiative should one day breakdown all the male /female noir car scenes!

    posted by: Paolo on 2008-03-24 10:36:00

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