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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

FORCE OF EVIL

U.S., 1948
Directed by Abraham Polonsky
Starring John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor
Screenplay by Abraham Polonsky, Ira Wolfert
DCP restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation with funding provided by The Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Approx. 78 min.

Big shot attorney John Garfield doesn’t blink at being front man for mobsters until numbers-running brother Thomas Gomez wants out. Key scenes at Federal Hall, 26 Wall St., the George Washington Bridge, and a final Hudson River rendezvous.

Presented with support from the Robert Jolin Osborne Endowed Fund for American Classic Cinema.

Reviews

“A world of sleaze and greed imploding before your eyes.”
– Martin Scorsese

“Moodily and brilliantly photographed in New York streets… almost as hypnotic as Citizen Kane.”
– Leslie Halliwell

“A dynamic crime-and-punishment drama, brilliantly and broadly realized.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

“Rock-solid film noir…Beautifully photographed (by George Barnes) and lit; this has become something of a cult item. Polonsky, who coscripted with Ira Wolfert, was blacklisted and didn’t make another film until 1969’s Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here.
– Leonard Maltin

“The irresistibly corrupting ‘force of evil’ is capitalism, which destroys humanistic traditions of honor, selflessness, and family loyalty. Wall Street…is just a dressed-up version of the old numbers racket, where corrupt lawyers, brokers, and politicians prey on hapless suckers. The most attractive people are old-school gangsters running storefront numbers parlors; the worst are class traitors like the Garfield character (Joe Morse), concerned with nothing but ‘making my first million dollars…. the social and political allegory driving Force of Evil draws on New York’s historic immigrant culture as much as its role at the center of finance capitalism.”
– Richard Koszarski, “Keep ’em in the East”: Kazan, Kubrick, and the Postwar New York Film Renaissance

Film Forum