Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan & Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!

Crossfire (1947) poster noir classic drama robert ryan mitchum young

Another great thing about doing this here blog is discovering actors I had previously missed. Robert Ryan is one such actor. I know his face well from a couple of classic films, two big favourites of mine too. Playing Deke Thornton in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and Col Everett Dasher Breed in Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen but you know what I’m ashamed to say I never knew his name or filmography.

Robert Ryan cowboy noir soldier actor

The beauty now is I’m on a discovery mission finding heaps of his incredible old films. Just in 2017 I watched all these superb films of his, Act Of Violence (1949), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Set-Up (1949) On Dangerous Ground (1951), Executive Action (1973) and Men In War (1957).

Plus I have these lined up to see this year, Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), House Of Bamboo (1955) The Naked Spur (1953) and The Outfit (1973). Plus add to that The Professionals (1966) I’ve seen it but so long ago I can’t really remember it, can’t wait for a refresher.

Robert Ryan cowboy noir soldier actor wild bunch

The guy is like an enigma, what with his tall 6ft 4in imposing frame, good looks and forthright approach, he easily makes a convincing detective, army officer or even sheriff. Contradictory to this though we often find that he switches between not only playing good guys but also just plain bad guys or a character on a curve to redemption. It’s really a flip of a coin to which Robert Ryan you gonna get this time!

From being in the United States Marine Corps, holding a heavyweight boxing title throughout school to becoming a pacifist and hands on Civil Rights activist, some of his films performances must of been tough on him. With that flippable switch into prejudiced and violent characters must of been against a lot of what he stood for. Being the talented actor he is though doesn’t seem to stop him giving absolute, fantastic heartfelt, sometimes broken, convincing and wonderful moments on screen.

Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan shaving scene

I’m always trying to step away from reading any or very little plot detail as I possibly can, it’s always a pleasure to discover which character trait he will be taking on. So just a few days ago I got to see the noir classic Crossfire (1947) and what a tour de force performance by Mr Robert Ryan once again. He was so good alongside the excellent cast but hey which way is he going to go? Good or bad?

Crossfire is a brave film by director Edward Dmytryk tackling anti-semitism only a few years after the end of World War 2. After a Jewish man Joseph Samuels (Sam Levene) is found dead, a murder investigation is lead by pipe smoking police investigator Captain Finlay (Robert Young). He has to unravel the puzzle of what happened when a bunch of drunk soldiers are caught hanging around the murdered victims apartment.

Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan Robert Young Robert Mitchum

The 3 Roberts – Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Robert Young

Lead by Sgt. Peter Keeley (Robert Mitchum) and his company of men including Montgomery (Robert Ryan) and Cpl. Arthur Mitchell (George Cooper) and a bunch of of soldiers, they all find themselves being interrogated to discover who would do such a violent crime with no real motive. Can Captain Finlay and his trusty team of cops find who the guilty man is?

Crossfire (1947) george cooper Robert Mitchum noir drama

This was based on a book called The Brick Foxhole by Richard Brooks with the hate crime being switched from homophobia to anti-semitism. I guess what with the war just finishing and with the inevitability the film censor’s would of had kittens back then for the controversial homosexual content. I’ve read that Robert Ryan knew the author from his army days and requested if the book is ever put into film production that he would love to play a part.

This is a real bonafid classic noir drama and with Edward Dmytryk at the helm he deals out a stylish, fast paced mystery whodunit with a deep message.

Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!

Crossfire (1947) amazing french version poster

Awesome French poster for the film.


20 thoughts on “Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan & Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!

  1. Must be a wonderful experience to discover an actor of Ryan’s capabilities. Oh yeah, I did the same thing a few years back knowing him from the same two titles you did and then the gates opened and I’m a huge fan. Not sure if you listed Inferno anywhere but another really good film and role for him. Also not sure if you read up on films but at long last a book turned up on Ryan that is invaluable.
    Keep the titles coming and you are gonna LOVE House of Bamboo. Just got my copy on blu ray recently.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We really do follow very similar paths on our movie discoveries, I’m just a bit later than you.
      I loved his part in Act Of Violence where he was like a T1000 and discovering Aldo Ray playing along side him in Men In War. And The Set-Up was the one that really hit me for six. Really champing at the bit to watch House Of Bamboo, big love for Sam Fuller films and also had another fellow film head strongly recommend it.
      I hadn’t heard of Inferno so I’m extremely grateful for that recommend to add to the Ryan movies to be seen this year. Thank you, I’ve got so much wonderful screen time to see. Happy days 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Terrific post. I can see how much you are enjoying the work and acting skill of Robert Ryan. He was one of the best. I love how he always made what he did appear effortless. Great film. I look forward to your reviews of Odds Against Tomorrow and The Naked Spur.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. […] The Naked Spur (1953) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 7.4 I try to fit in a western once a month but this time it turned to two. Such a different viewing experience than the usual noir, crime thrillers but this one isn’t far removed from a noir with a western backdrop. Directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Janet Leigh and that guy I love Robert Ryan. […]


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