- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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"People's witness? People's slob!"
- Jeff Boston
Great put-down by Hodiak's prosecutor, and it speaks to the problem with this film and others directed by Sturges. His films are not sloppy enough. Not enough realness. There's not enough tension, not enough sweat; everything's way too clean in too many of his films, like this one, "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Great Escape." Good acting and decent overall, but everything has too much of a sheen to it. "Bad Day at Black Rock" is Sturges' best film, a film with tension, sweat, and is not way too clean. Here, Ciannelli's "Knuckles" leaves an impression.
A nice surprise
- Kristin Helberg
I have never been much of a Spencer Tracy fan. He always seemed to be playing the same role, that of the honorable hero, but he surprised me in this movie. His performance was provoking as we watch a man struggling with alcoholism as well as moral decay as he succumbs to illegal bribes to help win his client's legal case. It is a well written script and my favorite Spencer Tracy movie.
Michael Rennie surprise extra??
- Darla Sycamore
Did I see Michael Rennie at the bar in a scene where Tracy enters and Italian celebration. It was just a quick glimpse and I pause the frame. Sure looked like him.As to the movie I thought it was very good.
yah, ye betcha
- don letta
Flippen's Swedish accent is only one flaw in this otherwise well made film. The other is Tracy's experienced lawyer giving a bribe by check??????? Of course without the check, the excellent ending wouldn't be possible... so, oh, well.The cast is quite good, with Tracy, Hodiak, Lynn and Campbell standing out. Alton's cinematography is slightly under par, but it works, and editing could have been a bit tighter, A salute to Tracy for washing his dirty laundry in public.
Spence does it again
Another notch in Spencer Tracy's gun belt is this gem -- I've seen it a few times over the years and like so many other films shown on TCM I watch again because of the 'perfect storm' of pros both in front and back of the camera. The supporting players are just as well cast as the leads -- all egos checked at the door. Most everyone knows that Tracy had a drinking problem but it never seemed to interfere with his performance and didn't here but I sense he could relate to the turmoil his drinking had on friends and family. It's too bad that this film isn't touted as one of Tracy's best just because it didn't have a happy ending. Would it have made a better pic if he got shot but lived and ended with the obligatory hospital bedside scene where the entire cast stood around and slapped each other on the back?? Give me a break -- audiences were that dense in 1951 that they couldn't face a realistic ending so stayed away in droves because Tracy dies ... in a movie. Overall a well-done movie -- even tho I'd seen before I couldn't remember who 'did it' so, for a change, I didn't know the ending until it got there. Have to tip my hat to Eddie Muller and his Noir Alley prologues and epilogues -- always fascinating and informative -- his insights into the films and the players are worth the price of admission.
THE PEOPLE AGAINST O'HARA
- Gail Crowley
Mr. Tracy gives a masterful performance, as always. That is why I created a Spencer Tracy Appreciation Society club on Facebook. He was one of the best actors ever during the golden years of Hollywood.
people against o'hara
- kevin sellers
From the general lack of comments, critical or otherwise, both on Rotten Tomatoes and TCM, it's clear that the public does not particularly enjoy seeing Spencer Tracy play morally compromised individuals, and indeed he didn't often portray such characters. The only other movie that I can recall that shows Tracy in anything other than a heroic or lovable mode is "Edward My Son," which also bombed at the box office. Too bad, because this is a film worth watching. Tracy's unethical lawyer, Jim Courtaine, is truly a tragic figure. His greatness is his sense of responsibility for protecting the wrongly accused and this greatness leads to his flaw, bribing a witness to lie (which backfires on him) so that his client will go free, and that flaw causes his downfall, which is not only his death, but his shame as he delivers the eulogy of a lawyer greater than he. It isn't often that tragedy is credibly conveyed in a Hollywood film (or any film, for that matter) without a lot of pretentious speechifying, breast beating, and wallowing in self pity, but this film is one of those times. Credit a screenwriter I've never heard of named John Monks Jr. as well as Tracy's usual superb acting. And supporting Tracy are a group of fine actors, like Pat OBrian as Courtaine's old cop friend, John Hodiak as an ambitious but sympathetic DA, Diana Linn as Courtaine's loving daughter and William Campbell as an annoyingly smug and chatty witness slash hood. The general look of the film is more big city generic than noir (the usually brilliant John Alton kinda phoned it in, in my opinion) and director John Sturges' pacing could be faster, but otherwise this is an engrossing film. Give it an A minus. P.S. As the bribed witness, Jay C Flippen has the worst Swedish accent I've ever heard. Guess John Qualen wasn't available, yah?
I so appreciate it when a viewer labels a film as "film noir". Over time, I have realized I like most of film noir films. My thanks to previous viewer. I would have missed this fine film. Thank you.A suggestion to TCM: I am a faithful TCM viewer, steadily loving this station even more as you group films into categories like, "Historical Disability...", "America Politics ...", "Star Day or Night", of course, "Star of the Month".Also , TCM, would you please consider a category labeled, "foreign films"? Love TCM; and love viewer comments. Several times, I have so loked forward to viewing a film, only to be disappointed to discover it is being shown as a "foreign film", being shown with sub-titles. I am aging and cannot read as fast as I used to. I apologize for the digression. Love you, TCM.
People Against O'Hara
- Steve Livingstone
Spencer Tracy stars in this under rated and rarely shown film noir. The cast is great... John Alton's shadowy photography is brilliant. A great supporting cast elevates this crime drama to classic status. Don't miss it next time it comes on.