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Trailers from Hell: Josh Olson on Noir 'Act of Violence,' Starring Robert Ryan and Van Heflin

Photo of Trailers From Hell By Trailers From Hell | Thompson on Hollywood January 27, 2014 at 3:05PM

Josh Olson on Noir! kicks off this week at Trailers from Hell, with screenwriter Olson introducing Fred Zinneman's "Act of Violence," starring Ryan, Heflin, a world-weary Mary Astor and a 21-year-old Janet Leigh.
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Van Heflin and Robert Ryan for 'Act of Violence'
Van Heflin and Robert Ryan for 'Act of Violence'

Josh Olson on Noir! kicks off this week at Trailers from Hell, with screenwriter Olson introducing Fred Zinneman's "Act of Violence," starring Ryan, Heflin, a world-weary Mary Astor and a 21-year-old Janet Leigh.

Moviegoers seeking easy answers should steer clear of Fred Zinneman’s hardboiled thriller from 1948, ACT OF VIOLENCE. Zinneman uses the then recent horrors of World War II as the springboard for this complex morality play starring Van Heflin and Robert Ryan as two ex-POWs whose shared humanity has been corrupted by the Nazi prison camps. Just how corrupt they are is the subject of Robert Richards’ screenplay (from the story by Collier Young). The cast, including Janet Leigh and Phyllis Thaxter, is interesting from top to bottom and features a vivid turn from Mary Astor as a prostitute who gives Heflin shelter.

This article is related to: Trailers, Trailers from Hell, Trailers, Video, Video


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.