Soon-to-be-blacklisted director Cy Endfield’s coruscating film is based on Joe Pagano’s novel The Condemned (Pagano also wrote the adaptation), which was in turn based on the actual 1933 case of two men from San Jose who were taken into custody for the kidnapping and murder of a wealthy man and then dragged from their jail cells and lynched (the story of Fritz Lang’s American debut, Fury, is drawn from the same incident). Endfield’s film, largely shot on location and animated by an acute awareness of class and economic pressures, carefully builds scene by scene to a truly harrowing climax. With terrific performances by Lloyd Bridges and Frank Lovejoy as the kidnappers.
Cyril Raker Endfield (November 10, 1914 – April 16, 1995) was an American screenwriter, film director, theatre director, author, magician and inventor, based in Britain from 1953.
Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, after attending Yale University, Endfield began his career as a theatre director and drama coach, becoming an important figure in New York’s progressive theatre scene. Despite this shared background, it was largely Endfield’s skill as a card magician which brought him to the attention of Orson Welles, who recruited him as an apprentice for Mercury Productions (at that time based at RKO Pictures). Following the debacle surrounding the production of The Magnificent Ambersons (which ended with the expulsion of the Mercury team from the RKO lot) Endfield signed on as a contract director at MGM, directing a wide variety of shorts (including the last films in the long-running Our Gang series), before moving on to freelance on low-budget productions for Monogram and independents… read more
A new issue of Bright Lights Film Journal boasting six book reviews and the publication on March 15 of J Hoberman's An Army of Phantoms: American