Act of Violence (1949)

82 mins | Film noir | February 1949

Director:

Fred Zinnemann

Producer:

William H. Wright

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

       Although Conrad A. Nervig is listed onscreen as the film's editor, HR production charts list Blanche Sewell as the editor. The CBCS and some contemporary reviews incorrectly list Nicholas Joy in the part played by Taylor Holmes. According to a May 1948 HR news item, some filming took place at Big Bear Lake, CA.
       Although unusual for the period, all credit titles come at the end of the ... More Less

       Although Conrad A. Nervig is listed onscreen as the film's editor, HR production charts list Blanche Sewell as the editor. The CBCS and some contemporary reviews incorrectly list Nicholas Joy in the part played by Taylor Holmes. According to a May 1948 HR news item, some filming took place at Big Bear Lake, CA.
       Although unusual for the period, all credit titles come at the end of the film. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Aug 48
p. 268, 282-84.
Box Office
25 Dec 1948.
---
Daily Variety
21 Dec 48
p. 3, 7
Film Daily
21 Dec 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 48
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 48
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 48
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 49
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Dec 48
p. 4410.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Dec 48
p. 4433.
New York Times
24 Jan 49
p. 16.
Variety
22 Dec 48
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
William Bailey
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
MAKEUP
Hairstyles des by
Makeup created by
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 January 1949
Production Date:
17 May--mid July 1948
added scenes late August 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 December 1948
Copyright Number:
LP2015
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82
Length(in feet):
7,387
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13275
SYNOPSIS

At a Memorial Day celebration in the small town of Santa Lisa, California, contractor Frank R. Enley, a World War II Veteran, is honored for bringing a new housing project to the town. On the same day, Joe Parkson, a mysterious and disabled war veteran, arrives in Santa Lisa hoping to find Frank and kill him. Following the ceremony, Frank bids his wife Edith and young daughter Georgie farewell and goes on a fishing trip with his friend, Fred Finney. Only moments after he leaves, Edith receives a telephone call from Joe, who says nothing and hangs up. Joe later visits Edith looking for Frank, and when she tells him the he has gone fishing at the lake, he leaves without explaining himself. At the lake, Joe, carrying a loaded gun, rows out to where Frank is fishing, but is unable to fire a shot at him. When Bobby, the bartender at a shoreline bar, tells Frank that a stranger with a limp was looking for him, Frank immediately realizes who it is and rushes home in a panic. At home, Frank takes every precaution to secure his family's safety, and tells his wife that Joe is an old army pal whom he does not wish to see. Late that night, Frank admits to his wife that he moved the family away from Syracuse, New York, to get away from Joe. He also tells Edith that during the war he and Joe were imprisoned in a Nazi prison camp, and that Joe is mentally ill. One day, when Frank leaves town to go to a builders and contractors convention in Los Angeles, Joe forces his way ... +


At a Memorial Day celebration in the small town of Santa Lisa, California, contractor Frank R. Enley, a World War II Veteran, is honored for bringing a new housing project to the town. On the same day, Joe Parkson, a mysterious and disabled war veteran, arrives in Santa Lisa hoping to find Frank and kill him. Following the ceremony, Frank bids his wife Edith and young daughter Georgie farewell and goes on a fishing trip with his friend, Fred Finney. Only moments after he leaves, Edith receives a telephone call from Joe, who says nothing and hangs up. Joe later visits Edith looking for Frank, and when she tells him the he has gone fishing at the lake, he leaves without explaining himself. At the lake, Joe, carrying a loaded gun, rows out to where Frank is fishing, but is unable to fire a shot at him. When Bobby, the bartender at a shoreline bar, tells Frank that a stranger with a limp was looking for him, Frank immediately realizes who it is and rushes home in a panic. At home, Frank takes every precaution to secure his family's safety, and tells his wife that Joe is an old army pal whom he does not wish to see. Late that night, Frank admits to his wife that he moved the family away from Syracuse, New York, to get away from Joe. He also tells Edith that during the war he and Joe were imprisoned in a Nazi prison camp, and that Joe is mentally ill. One day, when Frank leaves town to go to a builders and contractors convention in Los Angeles, Joe forces his way into the house and tells Edith that her husband is responsible for his disability and the death of some of his army pals. Frightened by the visit, Edith leaves Georgie in the care of her neighbor, Martha, and rushes to Los Angeles. There, Frank admits that he revealed Joe's escape plans to the Nazis to win special treatment for himself. Meanwhile, back in Santa Lisa, Joe learns that Frank is in Los Angeles and decides to search for him there. After checking out of his Santa Lisa hotel room, Joe is surprised by the arrival of Ann Sturges, his girl friend, who has followed him in the hopes of preventing him from killing Frank. When Joe rejects Ann's pleas, Ann finds Edith and warns her about Joe's revenge plans. In Los Angeles, Joe finds Frank at the convention and the two scuffle. Frank manages to escape, and while taking refuge in a bar, meets a prostitute named Pat. Pat takes Frank to Johnny, a killer-for-hire, who uses force and alcohol to persuade Frank to hire him to kill Joe. The following day, Frank returns to Santa Lisa, and, regretting his decision to hire Johnny, tries to warn Joe about the impending attempt on his life. Frank warns Joe only seconds before Johnny fires his gun, and then steps forward to take the bullet himself. Though wounded by the gunshot Frank manages to grab Johnny as he speeds off in his car, causing it to crash into a lamppost. Both Johnny and Frank are killed in the crash, leaving Joe with the responsibility of telling Edith the tragic news. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.