Discussion: Realism & Crime Drama

Posted: September 24, 2009

Boomerang! is Elia Kazan’s real-life crime drama. What is your favorite real-life crime drama?

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  • rayban

    Because I was very young when I saw it and very impressed, I’ve always been partial to William Keighley’s “The Street With No Name” even, many years later, when I got to see it on DVD with a great commentary from Eddie Muller. And, then, long after it was released, I saw the re-make, Samuel Fuller’s “House Of Bamboo” and couldn’t get over that one, too. This one embraced (much more visually than verbally) the homoerotic element in the original and presented us with the spectacle of Robert Ryan’s overwhelming (and ultimately destructive) sexual desire for Robert Stack. So, then, a very rare case of being impressed (but for different reasons) by both the original (which was based on fact) and the re-make (which was based on Fuller’s quirkiness).

  • ScuffedShoes

    Probably “In Cold Blood.”
    But I’m finding it impossible to watch “Boomerang” because of the way the frame has been clipped. Originally shot in 4×3 aspect this print has been cropped top and bottom to make it appear to have been shot widescreen. This destroys the framing, cuts off the top of the actors’ heads and, in this case, obscures many significant newspaper headlines.
    When you re-broadcast the film, please get a full-screen print.

  • mary enyart

    Please Please run the credits after the Saturday night movie. It’s been a long time since 1947 and I’d like to know who was in the cast. It might run before the movie, but it means much much more after the movie, if we have to choose.
    I appreciate the triva about Elia Kazan’s uncle, but would much rather know the name of the man who was exonerated by Dana Andrews.

  • rayban


    That actor’s name is Arthur Kennedy.

  • Joel Rudikoff

    “The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side,” from the Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie, several versions of which have been made for TV and theatrical release. Dame Agatha knew a good story when she read one, and “The Mirror Crack’d” is based on a tragic incident which befell the American actress Gene Tierney, which she related in her memoir. (I became aware of it not from Tierney’s book but from the Hollywood history, “City of Nets.” by Otto Friedrich (pp 109-111.) Tierney was asked one night to fill in as a hostess at the USO Hollywood Canteen shortly after the US entered WW II. She agreed to do so although she was pregnant with her first child. There she mingled with GIs and WACs, including two women who confided that Tierney was their favorite actress. Shortly thereafter Tierney was diagnosed with Rubella, or German Measels, a childhood disease which when contracted by an adult often leads to serious complications, especially to the fetus of a pregnant woman. Tierney’s daughter was born with severe physical and mental defects and had to be institutionalized. For many years thereafter the actress suffered from depression, her marriage ended, and her career went into a decline from which it never fully recovered. Many years later at a reception, Tierney relates, she met a woman who told her that they had met years before, at the Hollywood Canteen. She and her friend had to sneak off their base, which had been put under quarantine owing to an outbreak of German Measels. Tierney writes that she stood looking at the woman for a few seconds and then turned and walked away. In the Agatha Christie version, which “mirrors” these details in almost every respect, the actress returns a short time later and shoots the woman dead, leaving Miss Marple to sort out what appeared to be a case of the death of an innocent victim.

  • Jerry

    The best real life crime drama I’ve ever seen is one in which the crime,itself, is almost peripheral. A robbery in a diner, involving a fatality. Nevertheless, it changed a man’s life forever. The movie was entitled “I Am A Fugitive” with Paul Muni giving the performance of his life. The story is unforgettable. The final fade-out is arguably the most memorable in the history of Hollywood film. It was based upon the best-selling book, “I Am A Fugitive From A Georgia Chain Gang.” Don’t miss it.

  • bonnie

    In Cold Blood and, more recently, Zodiac