Force of Evil (1948)
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Wow! That was an awesome noir. It's a shame Polonsky was barred for 20 odd years from making movies post this. The loss is not just Polonsky's, but whole of Hollywood's! It was a death-knell to what could have been a remarkable career. *sigh*
Jonathan Rosenbaum on the film:
If we consider how the Hollywood Blacklist cheated us out of great films and brilliant careers that might otherwise have existed, it’s hard to think of a worse casualty than writer-director Abraham Polonsky (1910-1999).
“Might talkies be like the opera?” Polonsky once asked. “The main thing is the music but O the joy when the singers act and the songs are poetry....I assumed for Force of Evil that the three elements, visual image, actor, word, are equals....All I tried to do was use the succession of visual images, the appearance of human personality in the actors, and the rhythm of words in unison or counterpoint.”
The results, played out in the anguished love between a crooked New York lawyer (Garfield) and his honest brother (Thomas Gomez), is a tragedy of uncommon force. And then Polonsky couldn’t direct another feature for 21 years.
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In 13 official lists
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This movie ranks #17 in Sight & Sound's 75 Hidden Gems
This movie ranks #29 in A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
This movie ranks #32 in 101 Gangster Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #46 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
This movie ranks #46 in TSPDT's 100 Essential Noir Films
This movie ranks #137 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #164 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000
This movie ranks #202 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #271 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #291 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #327 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #361 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #989 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown