This dramatization of a factual incident opens in a quiet Connecticut town where a kindly priest is murdered while waiting at a street corner. The citizens are horrified and demand action from the police. All of the witnesses identify John Waldron, a nervous out-of-towner, as the killer.
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A smart script and tight direction keep things moving, even though the story does get a bit dry and talky in places - but the climactic courtroom scene is particularly powerful. Dana Andrews is a bit stiff in the lead, but he's backed by a great supporting cast including Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, and a young Karl Malden. Kazan would go on to direct better films, but this is a solid early effort.
Kazan's problem is he's always trying to buoy his films with "noble" subject-matter. Here he provides an indictment of economic corruption in a pretty good police-courtroom procedural starring Dana Andrews, the perfect representative of the bland ideals of American justice Kazan has in mind. (This is *not* film noir.)
Dans une petite ville du Connecticut, un pasteur est sauvagement assassiné d'un coup de revolver.
Un chômeur est arrêté et accusé du crime. Sa culpabilité arrange les instances dirigeantes en pleine
campagne électorale. Le procureur Harvey va tenter de prouver son innocence. Efficace et prenant !
"Zealous Amateurism..." Really enjoyed the narration at the beginning, but the story quickly loses its novelty. Got to love Kazan's fascination with staircases... Shows the dangers of a witch-hunt and foreshadows Kazan's decision to testify before HUAC.
The semi-documentary style and theme of the failures of law enforcement is pulled off well but it's style is the film's major flaw. It goes back and forth to show the many facets of the investigation but sacrifices the chance for the viewer to connect with any characters (up until halfway through when it settles on the ethical decisions of Andrews' character). In the end this is a very minor but intriguing Kazan.