Saturday, January 27 6PM
Part of Shadows of The Blacklist: "The Caine Mutiny", "Force of Evil" and "On the Waterfront"
On The BIG Screen at Loew’s Jersey January 26 & 27
“Force of Evil” Starring John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Edna Tucker, Roy Roberts, Doris Lowry. Directed by Abraham Polonsky. 1948, 80mins., B&W. Screened digitally.
$8 Adults / $6 Seniors & Kids for this screening
Combo pricing available for seeing more than one film in a series.
The epitome of post-war Film Noir, “Force of Evil” is the story of flawed man crashing in to both the corruption of the world he lives in and the inner morality he has denied. Garfield plays an ambitious attorney who has long since abandoned his scruples in favor of monetary reward. He represents the interests of a major crime boss who plans to take over the numbers racket in New York by misusing the law and government authority. Garfield thinks he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to make this plan happen, including pressuring his estranged brother to help. But soon he finds he’s jeopardized his brother’s life, cut himself off from the woman he’s falling in love with, and put himself in the middle of a lethal three-way crossfire between his boss, other gangsters, and state investigators.
The unfolding plot is a terse, melodramatic thriller that even includes well-placed biblical allusions: Cain and Abel, Judas's betrayal, even stigmata. The dialogue seems almost poetic at times, although it certainly is never padded or flowery. The striking B&W cinematography, like other Noir masterpieces, shows great Impressionistic influences in its commanding use of light and shadow, and is further enhanced by realist location photography.
In its review by The New York Times, the film inspired what is, perhaps, the best description of the essence of Film Noir: “. . . this film is a dynamic crime-and-punishment drama, brilliantly and broadly realized. Out of material and ideas that have been worked over time after time, so that they've long since become stale and hackneyed, it gathers suspense and dread, a genuine feeling of the bleakness of crime and a terrible sense of doom. And it catches in eloquent tatters of on-the-wing dialogue moving intimations of the pathos of hopeful lives gone wrong."
This was, arguably, John Garfield’s finest performance, and there is no small irony in that fact, since it coincided with the beginning of the end of his career. As the film was being completed, Garfield was coming into the cross-hairs of the House Un-American Affairs Committee and other participants in the Communist witch hunt for his progressive political leanings. In testimony, he denied being a Communist, and therefore said he could not “name names” because he simply knew none to give the Committee. But he was perceived as being uncooperative, and Garfield soon found himself Blacklisted, with no more offers to make films. At the same time, “Force of Evil’s” director and co-screenwriter Abraham Polonsky was also accused of being a Communist. Polonsky would not direct another American film for 20 years, and Garfield would die at age 39 in 1952 of a heart attack that is often thought to have been brought on by the stress of being Blacklisted.
“Force of Evil was dropped by its original distributer, and wound up opening during Christmas week – which was a less that fortuitous time for a Noir. But over the years, “Force of Evil” has been recognized by film critics and historians as a masterpiece of the Film Noir genre, powerful in its poetic images and language. Martin Scorsese has repeatedly acknowledged its influence in the making of his crime dramas. In 1994, Force of Evil was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
The Loew's Jersey is a place where the great movie going experience is still alive -- a classic movie palace, a 50 foot wide screen, and a real pipe organ for entrance music before most shows!
The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ. We are located directly across JFK Blvd from the JSQ PATH Station with trains to New York & Newark’s Penn Station. Close to NJ Turnpike & Holland Tunnel. Discounted off street parking in Square Ramp Garage.
(201) 798-6055 http://www.loewsjersey.org" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank [email protected]" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
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