Don’t read below if you don’t want spoilers.
The energy, the pulse, the lovers being torn apart, and then, at the very end, coming together for the final. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I also thought the three main characters were perfectly cast. And I also loved the music.
There is one funny detail about the music. There are a couple of times when we see these classic overhead shots, from the top of a building looking down on the streets of busy Manhattan, with the pedestrians and cars appearing small, and the music is really intense to convey big city hustle and bustle, but, if you look closely, the cars are moving quite slowly due to the traffic! 🙂
And I looked up the writer, and he was one of the writers blacklisted in the McCarthy era. But he got to live to 88, that’s nice.
wiki: Abraham Lincoln Polonsky (December 5, 1910 – October 26, 1999) was an American film director, Academy-Award-nominated screenwriter, essayist and novelist, blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950s, in the midst of the McCarthy era.
Polonsky wrote essays, radio scripts and several novels before beginning his career in Hollywood. His first novel, The Goose is Cooked, written with Mitchell A. Wilson under the singular pseudonym of Emmett Hogarth, was published in 1940.
Polonsky signed a screenwriter’s contract with Paramount Pictures before leaving the US to serve in Europe in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II (from 1943 to 1945). After the war, he briefly returned to writing for Paramount. He wrote the screenplay for Robert Rossen’s independent production Body and Soul, (1947) starring John Garfield and Lilli Palmer. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Afterward, Polonsky became a Hollywood film director.
Polonsky’s first film as a director, Force of Evil (1948), was not successful when released in the United States, but it was hailed as a masterpiece by film critics in England. The film, based on the novel Tucker’s People by Ira Wolfert, has since become recognized as one of the great American films noirs and, in 1994, was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Polonsky’s career as a director and credited writer came to an abrupt halt after he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1951. Illinois congressman Harold Velde called the director a “very dangerous citizen” at the hearings. While blacklisted, Polonsky continued to write film scripts under various pseudonyms that have never been revealed. It is known that Polonsky, along with Nelson Gidding, co-wrote Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), in which Polonsky’s name was initially dropped from the film credits. Polonsky was not given public credit for the screenplay until 1997, when the Writers Guild of America, west officially restored his name to the film under the WGA screenwriting credit system.
After a prolonged absence, Polonsky returned to directing in 1969 with the Western film Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, a tale of a fugitive Native American pursued by a posse, which Polonsky converted into an allegory about racism, genocide, and persecution.
Polonsky was an uncredited scriptwriter for Mommie Dearest (1981), based on Christina Crawford‘s memoirs of her adoptive mother Joan Crawford, and The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1981), based a novel by A.E. Hotchner. A Marxist until his death, Polonsky publicly objected when director Irwin Winkler rewrote his script for 1991’s Guilty by Suspicion, a film about the Hollywood blacklist era, by revising the lead character (Robert De Niro) into a liberal, rather than a Communist.
He received the Career Achievement Award of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 1999. Prior to that, Polonsky taught a philosophy class at USC School of Cinema-Television called “Consciousness and Content”. While no longer a member of the Communist Party, he remained committed to Marxist political theory, stating “I thought Marxism offered the best analysis of history, and I still believe that”.
Until his death, Polonsky was a virulent critic of director Elia Kazan, who had testified before HUAC and provided names to the Committee. In 1999, he was enraged when Kazan was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement, stating that he hoped Kazan would be shot onstage: “It would no doubt be a thrill in an otherwise dull evening”. Polonsky also said that his latest project was designing a movable headstone: “That way if they bury that man in the same cemetery, they can move me.”
Thom Andersen interviewed Polonsky in the 1990s about the events of the Hollywood Ten years for his film Red Hollywood.
Polonsky died on October 26, 1999, in Beverly Hills, California, aged 88.
The movie is free on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmEBf7qBvBc