Table of Contents

Chapter 5

You Can't Do That:
From The Brick Foxhole to Crossfire

People called me. . . . Some said: Why do it? We were young. This picture could come later. We were sticking our necks out. It could be catastrophic. Not only did people say this to us—we said it to ourselves.
—Adrian Scott, "You Can’t Do That"

1In his next project, Scott hoped to shift his lens from the threat of international fascism to the threat of domestic fascism. As early as the summer of 1945, even before filming on Cornered was complete, Scott was becoming disturbed by the rising tide of anti-Semitic and racist organizing and outbreaks of violence in the United States. Two important events spurred him to action. The first and perhaps most shattering was the liberation of the German concentration camps by Allied troops, which revealed to the world the horrifying consequences of Nazi anti-Semitism. Like most Americans, Scott was stunned to learn the full extent of Hitler's Final Solution, and he, along with his friends and comrades, struggled to make sense of it.

2At the same time, the forces of reaction were on the march in the United States. During the first session of the Seventy-Ninth Congress, the House Un-American Activities Committee, led by John Rankin, attacked Hollywood as "a hotbed of subversive activities" and "the red citadel" dominated by "aliens and alien-minded people plotting the overthrow of the government of the United States."1 Rankin's attack on Hollywood was coordinated with a "visitation" to Los Angeles by the notoriously anti-Semitic demagogue Gerald L. K. Smith. In the summer of 1945, Smith made a speaking tour of California, starting in San Francisco to protest the establishment of the United Nations and traveling throughout the state, preaching his message of hate. In Los Angeles, both cheering throngs and outraged pickets greeted Smith. The opposition was led, of course, by Hollywood progressives, particularly members of the Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee for the Arts, Sciences and Professions (HICCASP).2 On June 29, 1945, an organizer for HICCASP contacted its director, George Pepper, for support in an anti-Smith educational campaign, reminding him:

Smith's Nazi-patterned political activity has been repeatedly condemned by Americans of all political faiths, from Harry S. Truman and Thomas L. Dewey down to our humblest officials. For these reasons Smith has been unable to get a foothold in San Francisco and other major communities where he has attempted organizational activities. However, he seems to be making some progress in Los Angeles, and is reportedly seeking to establish a permanent "church" here.

HICCASP joined with over four hundred civic, religious, labor, and political groups to organize an enormously successful counterdemonstration. Held on the same night as Smith's rally, the protest meeting—"An American City Action Rally"—packed more than twelve thousand people into the Olympic Auditorium and turned away three thousand more at the door. One city official called the rally "one of the three greatest meetings in the history of Los Angeles."3

3Despite the massive protests to his appearance in Southern California, Smith planned to return to Los Angeles that fall, and in October local organizations, including HICCASP and the Council for Civic Unity, geared up to protest his return. The use of military language in the protest literature is striking: "Last spring Gerald L. K. Smith came to Southern California to establish a 'Beachhead.' Now he is planning an 'invasion.'" Arguing that "[i]t is a vital necessity to combat the type of hate propaganda and mass viciousness spread by Gerald L. K. Smith," the letter cited an ominous quote from Smith: "I want to get to as many people as I can now, so that when chaos comes, I'll be a leader."4 This sort of apocalyptic rhetoric dovetailed closely with progressive fears that the postwar period would bring another economic depression and political turmoil, creating fertile soil for fascist demagogues like Smith.

4For Adrian Scott, the parallels between the anti-Semitic rhetoric and activities of German Nazis and of such domestic fascists as Gerald L. K. Smith were chilling. Like other Hollywood progressives, Scott believed that the postwar period would bring a new vitality and maturity to filmmaking, and new opportunities to tackle the controversial subjects that had been discouraged by the OWI. Recognizing that the productivity, idealism, and patriotism of the war years had merely papered over long-simmering class and racial tensions in American society, Scott was certain that the end of the war would bring a return of the Depression, and with it, a resurgence of intolerance, repression, and violence—the very conditions that had fueled the rise of fascism in Europe.5 In the summer of 1945, the death camps had just been liberated, revealing the full extent of the Nazi atrocities, while in the United States, a surge of anti-Semitic violence suggested to him that it could happen here. Scott, with his muckraking faith in the transformative power of public indignation, believed that this danger "needed public airing."6 Determined that his next film would address anti-Semitism and the potential for fascism in America, he began searching for a literary vehicle to adapt for the screen. When his friend Edmund North recommended Richard Brooks's The Brick Foxhole as the best book on Army life he had ever read, Scott knew he had found his story.

The Brick Foxhole: Popular Nationalism and the Specter of Native Fascism

5A writer for newspaper, radio and film in civilian life, and a Marine Corps corporal assigned to produce combat documentaries during wartime, Richard Brooks had excellent credentials to write a "true story" about the Second World War. Like other, more famous GI novelists of the war—Joseph Heller, James Jones, Norman Mailer, and Irwin Shaw, for example—Brooks drew on his own experience in the South Pacific to depict the all-male world of the military as brutalizing, authoritarian, and potentially fascist.7 However, unlike the canonical fiction of the war, The Brick Foxhole is set far from the bloodshed and violence of foreign battlefields, in the "safety" of a stateside barracks, a critical staging for Brooks's argument that the antifascist war must be waged at home as well as abroad. Less a conventional war novel than an exposé of some of the American ingredients of domestic fascism—intolerance, homophobia, racism, and particularly anti-Semitism—The Brick Foxhole's authenticity lay also in Brooks's position as a subaltern American: a Jew, the only son of Russian working-class immigrants.8  Brooks's experience as an "outsider" fueled a disturbing counternarrative that challenged the representational and ideological boundaries of wartime popular nationalism.

6Refusing to collaborate in the wartime conspiracy of silence on the troubling fissures in American society, The Brick Foxhole relentlessly exposes the divisive and unsettling realities of the war years. Brooks takes particular pains to challenge the wartime glorification of American cultural pluralism. The multiethnic combat unit romanticized in most World War Two movies is evident in The Brick Foxhole: Jeff Mitchell, a cartoonist with the Walt Disney studio, hails from Southern California; Peter Keeley is an Irish American newspaperman from New York City; Monty Crawford is a former policeman from the Midwest, the heartland of America; Floyd Bowers is a Southerner; and Max Brock is a New York Jew, the radical son of a wealthy businessman. In a Hollywood film, these men would come together as strangers and through the rigors of war and the possibility of death would learn to depend upon, trust, and perhaps even to love one another. Certainly their differences—whether ethnic, regional, political, or social—would become less important than the ties that bound them together, and in fact, wartime popular nationalism insisted that the loyalty of the "band of brothers" was critically important to winning the war against fascism. In The Brick Foxhole, Brooks reflects these common tropes back to the reader as though through a fun-house mirror. The camaraderie of overseas soldiers is completely absent among the men serving in the "brick foxhole." Instead, Brooks suggests that in the absence of the "glue" of battle, the differences among men are ultimately exacerbated, allowing bigotry, intolerance, hatred, and violence to reign.9 At the same time, however, Brooks also suggests that despite these problems, the liberal values embodied as American—tolerance, individualism, universalism—still represent the best defense against the threat of fascism, both at home and abroad. Thus, The Brick Foxhole also works as a narrative of conversion in which the main characters move from tolerance of intolerance and self-absorption in their own petty troubles, to the realization of the essential interconnectedness of all humanity and the necessity of individual responsibility and risk-taking to defeat fascism.

7Significantly, The Brick Foxhole also suggests the ways in which wartime popular nationalism was a deeply gendered enterprise. The experience of the war itself and the military training and regimentation necessary to turn citizens into soldiers profoundly shaped 1940s definitions and representations of masculinity. During World War Two, the "average American" constructed in the 1930s by social scientists, the advertising and marketing industries, and popular culture, particularly Hollywood films, flowed into the wartime figure of "GI Joe." On the one hand, GI Joe represented American masculinity at its finest: virile but clean-cut, democratic and tolerant, trustworthy, brave, and generous, committed to both his buddies and the girl he left behind. On the other hand, GI Joe was a professional killer, schooled in violence, aggression, and dehumanizing military discipline, and inured to suffering and death.10 As the war drew to a close and Americans contemplated the demobilization of millions of GIs, these competing representations of masculinity raised profound doubts about the very possibility of a "return to normalcy," both for civilians and the GIs themselves. Much of the postwar discourse on demobilization was dominated by the political concern that the returning veterans, damaged by their wartime experiences with violence, death, and military discipline, might be vulnerable to the lure of fascist demagogues. However, experts were also deeply concerned that the war had unleashed an aggressive and dangerous male sexuality. Of particular concern were the intense homosocial (and potentially homoerotic) bonds created by the war experience. Though wartime popular nationalism insisted that the bonds between men were critically important to winning the war, in the postwar period, they seemed to threaten the heterosexual bonds central to the American Way of Life.11 The masculine performances in The Brick Foxhole clearly reflect these concerns, as well as the radical dislocation of wartime sexuality and gender relations and the resulting crisis of masculinity.12

8The Brick Foxhole is structured around three violent battles—a boxing match, a homophobic murder, and a final showdown in hand-to-hand combat—that pit representatives of cosmopolitan liberalism against representatives of native fascism, dramatizing Brooks's argument that fascism must be fought, literally, at home as well as abroad. These battles can also be read as skirmishes in the larger struggle between the characters Keeley and Monty for moral authority and control over Mitchell and the band of brothers. As the novel opens, Mitchell, a young and sensitive artistic type, is troubled by loneliness for his wife and frustration that he hasn't been sent overseas to "act like a real soldier" and "kill some Japs." Overhearing some soldiers sniggering about a war hero and a woman named Mary who "showed him a good time," Mitchell immediately assumes that the woman referred to is his own wife Mary. Distraught over this perceived betrayal, he turns to his friend Keeley, the novel's manly spokesman for liberalism, tolerance, and universalism. Keeley is an "oracle" for Mitchell, offering both advice and a model on how to be a real man.

9Thus, Keeley takes him to a boxing match on the base, the first battle in The Brick Foxhole. The prizefight, a quintessential site of modern masculinity, represents Keeley's attempt to reintegrate Mitch into the bonds of manhood, the world of "real" men and "real" soldiers, and reinforces the centrality of violence in the performance of masculinity. Underlining the deeply gendered nature of wartime popular nationalism, these performances of masculinity are also, crucially, performances of Americanism. The fight, in which Max Brock, a Jew, takes on the crowd (mob) favorite, "Whitey," works on a number of levels. First, the fight reiterates the fact that homosocial bonds can also work to maintain hierarchies of class and race, as well as gender, excluding not only women but "Other" men: blacks, Jews, homosexuals, and so on. Thus Max fights to prove to Whitey and the white male boxing fans his worthiness for inclusion—as a man and as a Jew—in both the band of brothers and the imagined community of Americans.13 In this sense, the fight between Max and Whitey also resonates to a prizefight familiar to Americans in this period: the bout between African American fighter Joe Louis and German (Aryan) fighter Max Schmeling in the 1930s. Fight fans across the nation—both white and black—embraced Louis as a specifically American hero, viewing his victory over Schmeling as proof of the ideological and physical superiority of Americans to Germans and a repudiation of Nazi racial theories.14 The prize fight in The Brick Foxhole is also a recapitulation of the larger struggle between democracy and fascism. In particular, the juxtaposition of Max Brock, the fighting Jew, and Monty, the anti-Semitic bigot and potential leader of the irrational mob, reiterates the importance of fascism as a foil to liberalism in the construction of an imagined community of Americans during World War Two. Monty's nativist Americanism is rooted in the biological determinism of fascist ideology, while Max's Americanism insists on the voluntarism and pluralism of liberal ideology. Thus, the character of Max, like Keeley, suggests the ways in which the wartime crisis of masculinity was linked to the revisioning of race and ethnicity by the inclusive popular nationalism of the 1930s and 1940s.

10In the boxing match scene, Brooks makes clear that Max's enemies are the forces of fascism and intolerance—the irrational, undifferentiated mob. As Keeley says, "I know this mob. They're the same mob the world over. Whether they wear uniforms or not, they're a mob."15 As the novel's personification of the mob mentality, Monty's response to Max is important. Monty is "highly excited" by the fight, filled with blood lust. His teeth ache from watching the fight, and he stabs Max with his hatred. "What're you trying to do? Be a hero? You're no hero. . . . You're just a Jewboy." Monty believes that Max is fighting not only to prove something about himself, but to make a statement about the mob: "Trying to show us we're no good. Show us we're trying to persecute you." Monty refuses to grant Max his humanity, reinforcing Brooks's contention that "Jew" is a monolithic construct of the anti-Semite's irrational hatred: "You think I'll say it's a great fight. That you've got guts. You're crazy. Just a crazy Jew. Always plotting. Plotting. Got a plan. All Jews got a plan. Dirty up the place with your sheeny blood. Down, now. Down."16

11For Brooks, an obsession with socially constructed boundaries is inherently fascist, and throughout The Brick Foxhole, he is preoccupied with both the power and limits of socially constructed identity and the choice between maintaining or transgressing these boundaries in order to express solidarity or universal humanity. Though Brooks could not have read Jean-Paul Sarte's Anti-Semite and Jew (1946) before writing The Brick Foxhole, the parallels between Sartre's brilliant delineation of the roots and nature of the French anti-Semite and Brooks's representation of the American anti-Semite, Monty, are striking. Sartre argues that the French anti-Semite sees his Frenchness as a birthright: it is a natural and essentialist category of identity, perceived as an entitlement that accrues without reference to individual effort or personal merit. In the mind of the anti-Semite, he belongs to his nation by virtue of blood, rather than national history or culture. For the fascist, the nation is essentially racial; the very idea of "becoming" a citizen is therefore a betrayal of blood lineage. Sartre's example here is the "natural" Frenchman who believes he intuitively knows more about Racine than Proust, the assimilated Jew, ever could. Similarly, the nation itself belongs to him, reinforcing his sense of entitlement, his inalienable right to whatever privileges and opportunities follow from that belonging. Thus, the anti-Semite is "rightfully" contemptuous of the interlopers and intruders whose Frenchness is achieved or earned, "naturalized" rather than "natural." Jews, of course, are particularly despised, since, as members of an "alien race," they have the wrong blood for Frenchness. The anti-Semite is outraged by these Others' claims to Frenchness, since for him assimilation and naturalization are inherently inauthentic, and as such, represent usurpations of his own "blood right" to Frenchness.17

12In The Brick Foxhole, Brooks makes a similar argument for Monty's sense of entitled "Americanness," though Monty's roster of interlopers is not confined to Jews, but includes all the Others in the American melting pot, from African Americans to the many immigrant "hyphenated" Americans: "Monty was strongly American. Frenchmen were Frogs; Negroes, niggers; Poles, Polacks; Italians, wops; Chinese, Chinks; Jews, Christ-killers." In Monty's Manichean worldview, fervent nationalism runs parallel with aggressive anti-internationalism, lumping together all "foreigners" as the Other—not "one of us." He is particularly resentful of the presence of "rotten refugees," linking them with the native-born Jews who were so visible in Hollywood, the New Deal, and other sites of political and cultural power in American society. Monty suggests that despite—or because of—their wealth and political influence, the Jews are "contaminating" the nation with their "dirty" accents and their money. Significantly, his isolationism is largely intuitive, just as his sense of entitled Americanism is essentially irrational and anti-intellectual. Monty does not have to actually know the Others to know about them: "I know these lousy foreigners. All the same. Every one of 'em." However, he is also quick to point out that he is "broadminded:" "Mind you, I got nothing against the good ones but . . . "18 For Monty, the end of the war represents an ideal opportunity to neutralize these un-American elements, and he looks forward to the day when the generals, businessmen, and those who "know how to run things" take over the country.19

13The novel's second battle, between "real" men and a "fairy," offers a different take on Brooks's vision of the relationship between masculinity, violence, and fascist boundary-keeping.20 This battle, which ends in murder, invokes the threat posed by homosexuality to normative heterosexuality and highlights even more clearly the wartime crisis of masculinity. Mitchell, still looking for a way to act like a "real" soldier, gets a weekend pass to Washington, D.C., where he hopes to forget his wife's supposed betrayal in the arms of another woman. Despite some misgivings, he falls in with Monty and his racist Southern buddy, Floyd Bowers. Hitchhiking into the city, the three soldiers catch a ride with Mr. Edwards, who is unmistakably a "sexual pervert." Edwards invites them to his apartment for drinks. Monty and Floyd, the novel's native fascists, taunt Mr. Edwards, and the mood gets ugly.

14Though this murder is crucial to both plot and theme of The Brick Foxhole, Brooks does not give homophobia the same careful delineation that anti-Semitism receives. Perhaps he felt that homophobia was a more "natural" prejudice than anti-Semitism, one that did not need to be explained to his readers. Certainly, as several historians have noted, World War Two heightened the visibility of gays, particularly in the military, and ultimately fueled a backlash. In the postwar period, a virulent panic over homosexuality (similar to, and indeed, linked to the panic over Communists) resulted in a wholesale purge of gays and lesbians from the military, the federal government, education, and other "responsible" professions.21 

15Nevertheless, in creating a "setting in which to experience same-sex love, affection, and sexuality, and to participate in the group life of gay men and women," the Second World War marked a critical turning point in the creation of gay communities throughout the United States. According to John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, "For some, their wartime careers simply made more accessible a way of living and loving they had already chosen. For others, it gave meaning to little-understood desires, introduced them for the first time to men and women with similar feelings, and allowed them to embark upon a new sexual road. Truly, World War Two was something of a national 'coming out' experience."22 Once granted leave or weekend passes, GIs, both straight and gay, flooded the cities near military bases or major ports, looking for love, sex, companionship, and relief from the boredom and constraints of military life. As Allan Bérubé explains, "Servicemen openly cruised each other in the anonymity of crowded bus and train stations, city parks, restrooms, YMCAs, beaches, and streets. They doubled up in hotel beds, slept on the floor in movie theaters, and went home with strangers when there was no other place to sleep."23 Soldiers often hitchhiked into town, and civilians considered it their patriotic duty to offer them rides. Thus, "Routes between military bases and cities became cruising areas where civilian men with cars picked up men in uniform. Many gay male soldiers and military employees welcomed these erotically charged roadside offers."24 In this context, Mr. Edwards's offer of a ride to the hitchhiking servicemen suggests a deliberate sexual pick-up.

16In Brooks's construction, Mr. Edwards is a classic "fairy": an effeminate homosexual whose gendered performance of "womanliness" virtually defined homosexuality in the mid-twentieth century.25 Without having met Mr. Edwards before, Mitchell notes the very pale "hungry" face, the "full, red lips" and "too graceful" hands, and knows him intuitively as a homosexual. Mitchell sees something "familiar" about Mr. Edwards even before Monty makes the insinuating comment—"Mr. Edwards is a simply wonderful interior decorator"—that unquestionably identifies the man as a "fairy." In fact, there is a subtle affinity between Mitchell, the sensitive artist, and Mr. Edwards, the homosexual interior decorator. Mitchell defends him against the mocking comments of Monty and Floyd: "It's an art. . . . It takes taste, ingenuity, and a knowledge of colors and spaces."26 In The Brick Foxhole, the two men are also linked by their loneliness and "hunger," a desire not only for sex, but for human connectedness—a feminine and feminizing need in the eyes of Brooks.

17However, Mitchell's defense of Mr. Edwards and his "recognition" of him are not only meant to suggest his own possible homosexuality. Instead, I would argue that within Brooks's universalist liberalism, in which boundary-keeping is equated with fascism, Mitchell's identification with Others, both the homosexual, Mr. Edwards, and the Jew, Max Brock, also marks him as potentially "nonfascist." Thus, as Monty and Floyd flirt with Mr. Edwards, Mitchell's first impulse is to warn him: "He didn't know against what. But the whole thing seemed evil to him. He wanted to tell the man to withdraw his invitation. There was something about the way Monty was talking that frightened [Mitchell]."27 It is possible to imagine that, under different circumstances (i.e., without the brutalizing influence of Monty and Floyd) that this meeting between Mitchell and Mr. Edwards—two sensitive and lonely young men—might reach a very different conclusion. However, Mitchell has chosen to "pass," identifying himself not as an "artist" (feminine, sensitive, empathetic, liberal), but as a "real soldier" (masculine, violent, sexually aggressive, potentially fascist). Therefore, instead of repudiating Monty and Floyd, he remains silent when Floyd includes him in the homophobic highjinks, with a nudge and a whispered, "We're set, buddy. Set. I ain't beaten up a queer in I don't know how long." As Mitchell tells himself, "You wanted to be a soldier, didn't you? Well, now you're being a soldier."28 In this context, being a soldier requires Mitchell to participate in the brutalization of Mr. Edwards. "Beating up a queer" becomes a rite of passage, an initiation into the fascist band of brothers. This bloody rite is a distorted mirror image of Max's fight against Whitey. Though Mitchell leaves before the murder occurs, his tacit consent to the bashing and his abandonment of Mr. Edwards represents a betrayal, a personal violation that makes him vulnerable to a potential demagogue like Monty.

18Brooks's juxtaposition of Mr. Edwards and Max Brock—the novel's despised Others—is also significant. In sharp contrast to Max's performance of manly heroism and univeralist Americanism, Mr. Edwards's performance of womanliness—from his good manners to his pathetic tears—mark him as weak and pitiable. Brooks is clearly contemptuous of the "hunger" that drives Mr. Edwards, and his constant iteration of the man's anxious, desirous responses to the GIs' come-ons—grateful glances, blushes, nervously licked lips, and hard swallows—implies that Mr. Edwards "asked for it." During the drive from the base to the city, Monty and Floyd alternately mock and flirt with Mr. Edwards. "[A]s though to say: Listen to this. This is going to be good," Monty winks at Floyd and Mitchell and begins the seduction: "Mr. Edwards, you got no idea how tough it is for a serviceman." Monty suggests that girls are "too much trouble"—it takes too much time and money to get them into bed. Floyd follows Monty's lead, saying that he's considering giving up girls all together, to which Monty replies suggestively, "A guy's got to have some fun." Licking his lips and swallowing hard, Mr. Edwards invites the men to his home, despite their obvious contempt for him. To mark his difference from the women who demand dinner and drinks before sex, Mr. Edwards offers to supply the whiskey as well as a few sandwiches. "I bet you make them yourself, don't you, Mr. Edwards?" Monty says snidely, and Mr. Edwards blushes, aware of the unmanliness of his domestic performance.29

19Brooks's presentation of the "seduction" of Mr. Edwards powerfully suggests the conflicting interpretations of homosexuality in the 1940s. On the one hand, the behavior of Monty and Floyd is reminiscent of the aggressive working-class masculinity described by George Chauncey: "A man's occasional recourse to fairies did not prove he had homosexual desire for another man, as today's hetero-homosexual binarism would insist, but only that he was interested in the forms of phallic pleasure a fairy could provide as well as a female prostitute could."30 Monty and Floyd are clearly motivated, not simply by a desire for sex, but by a need to assert their masculinity through dominance. As Chauncey argues, "If a man risked forfeiting his masculine status by being sexually passive, he could also establish it by playing the dominant role in an encounter with another man. Sexual penetration symbolized one man's power over another." Similarly, homophobic violence was a means of policing the boundaries between "fairies" and "virile" men: "Some men beat or robbed their effeminate male sexual partners after sex as if to emphasize that they felt no connection to them and had simply 'used' them for sexual release." "[I]f fairies were tolerated because they were regarded as women, they were also subject to the contempt and violence regularly directed at women."31

20At the same time, however, this scene clearly underscores the emerging link between homosexuality and psychological definitions of "deviance." Though the medical demonization of homosexuality was well underway by the 1940s, the rise of fascism suggested a new spin, in which repressed homosexuality was linked to an "authoritarian personality," a construction that would ultimately dominate postwar thought. Brooks clearly accepts this link between fascism, sexual "perversion," and sadism, suggesting that Monty's overt homophobia conceals a repressed homosexuality. In murdering Mr. Edwards, Monty eliminates the sexual "disorder" represented by homosexuality (both outside and within himself) and reaffirms the "natural" social order and his own normative masculinity.

21In addition, for Brooks, Monty is dangerous because his fascist sympathies are deployed to recruit the men around him. Indeed, he is not just a potential storm trooper, but a demagogic corporal, à la Adolph Hitler. Monty very deliberately cultivates the prejudices of the other soldiers, particularly Floyd Bowers. Importantly, the homophobic violence only erupts after Monty willfully inflames Floyd's racism. The trouble starts when Mr. Edwards—now called "Eddie" with disturbing familiarity—plays a recording by a Negro singer:

"There's a nigger thinks he's hot," Monty said.

"But he has such a talent," Eddie said. . . .

"That bastid," Monty said without particular venom, and therefore with more venom. "Holding that white girl in his arms, kissing her, making love to her."32

This enrages Floyd, who snatches the record from the phonograph and breaks it over his knee. Monty uses Floyd's irrational rage at miscegenation—another "unnatural" sex act—to win his consent and perhaps participation in the brutal bludgeoning of Mr. Edwards with the porcelain top of the toilet in his own bathroom. In The Brick Foxhole, then, prejudices are virtually interchangeable, and one irrational rage can be deployed against a variety of "enemies."

22The closing chapters of The Brick Foxhole are dominated by a narrative of conversion, as each of the major characters (save Monty the unregenerated fascist) realize their essential interconnectedness with the rest of humanity. With the world around them in upheaval, they recognize (as does Rick in Casablanca) that their individual problems "don't amount to a hill of beans in this lousy world." Keeley, of course, understood this from the beginning. It was his knowledge of "the score" and "what to do" that made him an oracle for Mitchell. However, even Keeley is not certain how or when the world became so complicated, and he reviews key turning points in the rise of fascism in search of the answer: "Had it begun with Pearl Harbor? With Hitler's march into Poland? With the castration of Spain's liberty? With Ethiopia? With Manchuria?" Unsatisfied with these possibilities, he reaches further back into history for the source of the "universal blight that had destroyed love and substituted hatred and frustration." Working back through history, invoking first the Versailles Treaty, and then the Inquisition, Attila the Hun's "plunge through history," Kublai Khan, the death of Christ, and finally "some wild thought expounded in a cave among prehistoric men," Keeley (and Brooks) suggest that modern fascism is simply a manifestation of ancient hatreds or a primitive, even biological, lust for power. As Keeley muses:

Every single act and utterance made by any man or woman affected every other man and woman in the world in some way. The unknown man who died unjustly in the dark alley of a Hungarian city left a blot on justice throughout the world. The Greek child whose belly is bloated with rickets today will haunt us tomorrow. These things Keeley knew. He knew we were all part of the whole, and that no man can say he stands alone.33

Thus, Keeley insists that our responsibilities to each other are profound and eternal. And this responsibility is to everyone in the entire world—not just the people who look or think or talk like "us"—not just "America for the Americans" but "One World for all Humanity." This recognition propels Keeley into action, on behalf of Mitchell and all humankind.

23Mitchell's failure to do the right thing—to warn Mr. Edwards, to protect him or at least stick by him in the face of the fascist threat posed by Monty and Floyd—results in his own implication in the murder. After abandoning Mr. Edwards to his fate, Mitchell drunkenly wanders the Washington streets until he finds a whorehouse and Ginny, a prostitute, to help him forget his marital troubles. When Mr. Edwards turns up dead, the police detective, Captain Finlay, believes that Mitchell is the murderer—a story that Monty encourages. However, Keeley, the sophisticated, liberal "hero," knowing that Mitchell is the kind of man who "cannot kill," immediately recognizes that Monty is the real murderer and urges Finlay to arrest Monty. Finlay hesitates, certain that "everybody lies" and that Keeley may be "stringing me along to save his friend." Finlay's resistance reveals the terribly skewed priorities of liberal justice: "Not so fast, Sergeant. This isn't the battlefield you know. Things aren't all black and white here. The colors are gray. We have to move slowly. A mistake in the battlefield is only a mistake. A lot of guys may get killed, but it's still just a mistake. Here a mistake means somebody's job."34 For Keeley, however, the war against fascism—the struggle for liberal humanism—can only be black and white: kill or be killed. Either you're with us or against us. Finlay's selfish concern with protecting his own job rather than pursuing the enemy and his callous indifference to the millions of lives lost in the war shows Keeley that Finlay is not "one of us." In fact, both Finlay the Washington detective and Monty the Chicago cop are both representatives of an unjust state. In Brooks's critique of the inadequacy of social institutions in the struggle against fascism, Finlay's self-serving indifference represents the official tolerance of intolerance that allows Monty's racist violence to flourish. Thus, for Brooks, it is neither social institutions nor the state, but strong, committed individuals, who represent the antifascist vanguard.

24Keeley knows immediately that he must take justice into his own hands. The road back to the post leads him through the forgotten battlefields of the Civil War, past Manassas, past Bull Run; Keeley despairs that these bloody battlefields in the war against American slavery have been forgotten, suggesting that the roots of the current war against fascism lie in that historical amnesia.35 At the post, he lures Monty to a war museum, where the two men join in hand-to-hand combat, crashing through the glass display cases, grabbing ancient bayonets rusty with the dried blood of older battles. Monty fights dirty, jabbing his fist into Keeley's groin, howling, "You dirty Irish mick. . . . What've you got against me?" Keeley replies, "I've got you against you. . . . This is a jungle, Monty. . . . This is a piece of the war. . . . This is the same war people are fighting all over the world. . . . And you're the same enemy." This collapsing of historical specificity and political difference—so central to the 1940s faith in universalism and "normality"—stands in sharp contrast to Monty's potentially fascist insistence on ethnic differences and boundary-keeping. In this final battle, the forces of liberalism and fascism are evenly matched. Monty—a "savage butcher" like the Japs and Nazis—is a fighting machine, untouched by fear, fueled by hatred: "He knew only that he had to kill and kill swiftly. He hated Keeley now as he hated everything else." Like a mad, slavering dog, Monty lunges at Keeley, and both of their bayonets strike home. With his dying breath, Monty whispers, "Mick bastid." As Keeley's lifeblood seeps from his body through his fingers, his final thought reaffirms his One World vision, linking himself, his mother, Mitchell and the band of brothers, and the suffering humanity of the world into one seamless web: "Mom! Oh Mom! When an old woman is hungry in China it hurts everybody in the world. Remember that, [Mitchell]. . . . Yes, Mom."36

25Interestingly, Brooks does not end The Brick Foxhole here, with Keeley's selfless sacrifice in the war against fascism. Instead, there is a final chapter in which Mitchell's wife Mary works with Captain Finlay, confronting the prostitute Ginny to prove her husband's innocence and to save her marriage. In one sense, this chapter ends the novel on an upbeat note: with Mitch exonerated of the murders and forgiven by his wife, he and Mary are reunited, and together they look forward to rebuilding their lives. Mary asks him, "Will everything be the same as it was with us?" She is talking about their marriage, and very specifically about sex, but Mitch misunderstands her, commenting instead on the future of the postwar world. "No," he replies. "But I think things will be better. They'll be better for everybody, and that means for us, too." With this promise of domestic harmony, both marital and political, The Brick Foxhole anticipates the full realization of the therapeutic, containment culture of the 1950s.37 At the same time, however, the confrontation in Ginny's apartment works to undermine the basic premises of this happy ending, raising disturbing questions about the very possibility of trust, stability, and certainty in the postwar world.

26Though Brooks sets up this scene as a showdown between the "good wife" and the "other woman," he subverts these categories by suggesting that the "honest woman" is Ginny rather than Mary. The distinctions between Mary the madonna and Ginny the whore could not be clearer. Though Mary looks tired, her hair is neat and orderly, her lipstick fresh, and she is properly accessorized with ladylike gloves, hat, and brown leather handbag. Mary announces herself: "'I . . . I'm Mrs. Mitchell,' as though that explained everything." Indeed, in some ways it does: Mitch is her husband and "this girl," Ginny, "had taken something that belonged to her." Mary's "property" claim is reinforced by the power of the state, both in the person of Captain Finlay and the fact of her legal marriage to Mitch. Ginny, on the other hand, answers the door looking like the scarlet woman she is, wearing a maroon bathrobe with a tasseled sash and fuzzy pink mules on her bare feet. Her tiny apartment smells of fried eggs. With one glance, a powerful gaze that establishes the differences between them, Mary sees "everything she wanted to know about the girl."38

27Most importantly, perhaps, Mary "collaborates" with the corrupt state, while Ginny resists, a distinction with significant implications in the struggle against fascism.39 Mary begs her to tell Detective Finlay that Mitchell was with her, but Ginny refuses, saying only, "A lot of men come to see me. . . . I never remember 'em." When Finlay, "a blot of ominous blue and brass," appears at the door, she snaps, defiantly, "I don't like cops," and challenges his authority with streetwise cracks: "Is this a raid or something? . . . You can't make me talk." Mary insists that Ginny help them: "I know [he] was with you. He told me. But it doesn't matter any more. Don't you see? . . . Never mind me. You've got to think of him." At this, Ginny turns the tables on Mary, challenging their presumed roles as "good wife" and "other woman." Given Brooks's suspicion of women, it is impossible for the women to form a common cause, and Ginny furiously mocks Mary, "Now ain't that just too goddam noble for words. . . . And where were you when he needed you? If you'd been where you should of been, at home in bed with him, all this wouldn't of happened. But I guess you're too good for anything like that."40

28When Ginny still refuses to cooperate, Finlay says sadly, "We're just wasting our time here. This girl's word wouldn't stand up anyhow." Stung, Ginny retorts, "What's the matter with my word? . . . I'm as good as anybody else. Just because I'm a whore don't mean I'm a liar!" Indeed, Brooks suggests that Ginny is the only truthful woman in the novel; as a whore, she—like Keeley—"knows the score" and refuses to indulge in romantic fantasies: "Trouble is, all you wives really believe that crap about men winning the war for you. You don't know anything about the war," she snipes. Ginny (and perhaps Brooks himself) have only scorn for the "good girls." "These decent women, they lie more'n we do anyway. They start by lying to themselves, and wind up lying to live. They haven't got the guts to face the truth. All these good women . . . aaah!"41 Though Brooks implies, through the reunion of Mary and Mitch, that Mary can be trusted, he subverts the "happy ending" through Ginny, who suggests that women like Mary—who lie to themselves and tell others the truth—are not to be trusted.

29At this point, the novel's most outrageous "story teller" emerges from the bedroom: "The Man," a nameless character who serves not only to confirm Mitchell's alibi, but also to reiterate the radically dislocating effects of the war. The Man makes his first appearance earlier in the novel, when Mitchell wakes up in Ginny's apartment. Hung over and confused, he doesn't remember his encounter with Ginny until The Man appears at the door. As The Man settles in and begins to make coffee it becomes clear that he belongs there. "You're wondering about this set-up, aren't you?" he asks and offers a series of strange and contradictory explanations about his relationship with Ginny that clearly presage the postmodern emphasis on multiple and fractured identities. Claiming first to be her husband, then a customer just like Mitch, then her lover, and finally her pimp, The Man emphasizes, "It's lies. All lies." Later, in his conversation with Finlay, The Man offers a story that may finally be the truth: "I'm a D.D. . . . Dishonorable Discharge, you know. I was in the Army. I met her over at Mama Bell's same as . . . everybody else."42

30The hostile relationship between Ginny and The Man subverts the "return to normalcy" promised to postwar couples like Mitch and Mary. Ginny despises The Man and resents his intrusion in her affairs: "It's not your business to spy on me . . . to watch me like I belonged to you or something. Because I don't, see? I hate you . . . I hate your guts." The Man himself is a rather pitiable, emasculated character, who is too weak to challenge either Mitchell or Ginny: "I haven't got any nerve. That's why she hates me. I take whatever she says to me and never answer back. I know I ought to. But I can't." The Man blames himself for the failure of the relationship: "We made a lot of plans. They fell through. I'm one of those guys that never finishes anything." The Man stands in stark contrast to the "heroic" men in the novel, men of moral certainty like Keeley and Max Brock. Restless and out of step, unable to get into the "excitement" or take charge of his domestic life, and indeed, a failure even as a soldier, The Man represents all the returning veterans for whom "normalcy" would remain elusive. Mary speaks for the entire society when she wonders, "How many more men would there be with dishonorable discharges? Who would think of them? What would be their place?"43

31Mary herself prefigures both the domestic ideology and the triumph of therapeutic culture in the postwar period. As she ponders the meaning of the war, she first acknowledges the physical violence and suffering—the casualty lists and lines of straggling refugees—but quickly moves on the psychological realm, realizing "that war did not come from outside of people. It came from inside them. And when people had cured themselves, there would be no war."44 Certainly, there are echoes here of Keeley's message that every human act or thought affects everyone in the world in some way or another. Mary, however, suggests that war—whether against fascism abroad or intolerance at home—is not a social or political problem, but essentially a psychological problem, an irrational impulse that can be "cured." Significantly, Mary's emphasis on "understanding, understanding, understanding" reflects the contemporary assumption that women were largely responsible for the psychic reintegration of the returning veterans. Thus, American women would face the future and rebuild their lives by understanding their men and forgiving them their wartime trespasses, an approach encouraged by the "experts." By the end of the war, a significant body of advice literature instructed women to devote themselves to home and family and to subordinate their own needs to their husbands', emphasizing that "the restoration of peace must lead to the restoration of the status quo antebellum in gender relations."45 However, the postwar domestic ideology was not simply a return to the prewar status quo; instead, recognizing the changes in sexual behavior during the war years, it acknowledged female sexuality as long as it was properly channeled into sexually-charged marriage.46 Significantly, then, The Brick Foxhole ends with Mary's embrace of her own sexual desire: "She was listening now to the wisdom of her own body, and it was aflame. There was something she had to prove to herself and to Jeff. . . . She would prove that she was better than Ginny. She wanted to wipe Ginny from his mind forever. She wanted to go to bed with him."47

32Though this happy ending anticipates the postwar construction of normalcy, it also strikes a false note and raises a number of disturbing questions. Brooks's deep ambivalence about women, marriage, and normative heterosexuality cannot be fully contained by the promise of a blissful, erotic future for Mitch and Mary. Are we to assume that Mitchell's weakness will be "cured" in the future? How will he function in the postwar world without Keeley's guidance? Will he no longer need his "oracle" in the brave new world populated by other men like himself who "cannot kill"? Will there be no Montys to lead him astray? No separations, frustrations, or miscommunication to drive him into the arms of a prostitute? And what of Ginny and the Man? How will they fare in the therapeutic, containment culture? And, indeed, what would be the fate of the internationalist One World vision articulated by Keeley as Americans like Mitchell and Mary set aside the antifascist struggle and embrace the containment domesticity of the Cold War?

33In June 1945, with the end of World War Two finally in sight, The Brick Foxhole was published—to decidedly mixed reviews. The critics greeted the novel with either cheers or hisses, with little middle ground. Sinclair Lewis's take on the book was one of the most positive: "The Brick Foxhole is a powerful, shocking tale about soldiers fighting the war from a stateside barracks. For them it became a war without meaning. Their driving force was hate. Hatred for Negros [sic] and Jews and Catholics and especially homosexuals. Hatred, finally, for each other and themselves. It's a blistering novel you'll never forget." Novelist and screenwriter Niven Busch, perhaps best known as the author of Duel in the Sun, agreed with Lewis's assessment. Busch praised The Brick Foxhole in the Saturday Review of Literature as "angry, rapid, stream-lined, and beautifully written; it is tough without self-consciousness and bitter without irritability and it has a mood in it which looks like the mood of the best of the new stuff coming out of this war." Walter Bernstein, however, described it in The New Republic as a "pretentious book, tough on the outside and soft on the inside." Hamilton Basso, writing in The New Yorker, also skewered the novel, calling it "a lot of nonsense" and "confused, badly written." Unimpressed with the social issues addressed in The Brick Foxhole, Basso dismissed it as "full of frantic striving to think large thoughts." Basso concludes that Brooks, "having lost his theme in the tangles of melodrama, loses his melodrama in the tangles of purely incidental issues—the issue of race prejudice, primarily."48

34Basso's primary criticism of the novel was that the rumor and the ensuing murder and manhunt seem almost incidental, serving primarily as a hook on which to hang the novel's larger themes—the endemic racism and anti-Semitism in American society, the radical dislocation of the military experience for American men, and the potential for fascism in the United States. Nevertheless, it is precisely this "nest of mechanical incident and contrived behavior" that gives The Brick Foxhole its existential power and resonance. In rooting his novel in a series of random coincidences, Brooks captures the sense of contingency that dominated the war years. For many Americans, struggling to deal with the radical dislocation, suffering and loss of total war, the moral certainties offered by popular nationalism could not completely contain their doubts and fears. Thus, the initial catalyst of suspected infidelity in Brooks's novel also reflects an overriding preoccupation with the issue of trust—or, more precisely, lack of trust. Who can you trust? This question haunts all the relationships in the novel, from the heterosexual marriages to the homosocial bonds between men. In various ways throughout The Brick Foxhole, the major characters struggle to determine who can be trusted, or are tested to prove their own trustworthiness, both personally and politically. These questions and issues posed by The Brick Foxhole resonated powerfully for Americans in the 1940s, and they struck a chord for Adrian Scott as well.

The Brick Foxhole in Hollywood

35Soon after its publication in the summer of 1945, The Brick Foxhole made the rounds in Hollywood, sparking the interest of several major progressive players. Humphrey Bogart read it and passed it on to independent producer Mark Hellinger. Hellinger, who had made his Hollywood reputation with gritty, almost existential films like They Drive by Night and High Sierra, liked the book, but wasn't interested in filming it.49 Group Theater playwright Clifford Odets planned to adapt the novel to the stage and convinced his friend Elia Kazan to direct. Unfortunately, Odets was in the middle of a divorce and had to put The Brick Foxhole on the back burner, while Kazan ran into financial difficulties and was unwilling to wait for Odets to finish writing the play, and they ultimately abandoned their plans for a stage adaptation. Nevertheless, it was Odets who introduced Adrian Scott to Richard Brooks, at a party in Odets's home.50

36 Related document:
Adrian Scott, "You Can't Do That," Conference on Thought Control in the USA, 1947 (PDF)
Like several of the literary critics who reviewed Brooks's novel, Scott thought The Brick Foxhole was significantly flawed, describing it as "an angry, chaotic book" with a "botched" theme. Nevertheless, he saw that if the story were revised so that a Jew instead of a homosexual became the murder victim, The Brick Foxhole would be an ideal vehicle for his dream project on anti-Semitism and the potential for fascism in America:

The Brick Foxhole was melodrama. It was soldiers in wartime. It was an attack on native Fascism—or the prejudices which exist in the American people which when organized lead very simply to native Fascism. It was an angry book, written with passion rooted in war—'in a dislocated, neurotic moment in history.' While it did not deal exclusively with anti-Semitism, it nevertheless gave an opportunity to focus simply on anti-Semitism. It was a subject we wanted to do something about, it was a subject that needed public airing.51

37In his public statements on the making of Crossfire, Adrian Scott focused almost exclusively on the opposition and doubts he and his colleagues encountered: from the front-office men at RKO, the censors at the Production Code Administration (PCA), their friends and comrades in the industry, and even each other. Certainly, Scott understood very well the limitations of the studio system. As he described it, "The working producer doesn't have the right or the power to make what he wants. Neither does a writer. Nor a director. The problem was the okay from the Front Office—that civilized monster which has no other concern but to think up devious ways to make you unhappy, or so you think." Though Murder, My Sweet showed him it was possible to manipulate the Production Code, his experience on Cornered had taught him the difficulties of injecting explicitly political themes into Hollywood films. The studio moguls, sensitive to charges of Jewish influence in the film industry, had long been unwilling to depict Jews and anti-Semitism on the screen. Though nothing in the Production Code specifically prohibited an anti–anti-Semitism film, Scott and his colleagues were "consumed with fear" and "imposed a censorship" on themselves, both in the early conceptual stages and in the production process itself. Ultimately, however, their expectations of censorship shaped the film more profoundly than any actual outside interference.52

38Given his sense of wide-ranging opposition to the project, Scott's choice of The Brick Foxhole was rather risky. Certainly there were other, more critically acclaimed literary sources he might have used. Arthur Miller's Focus was published in 1945, and Laura Z. Hobson's Gentleman's Agreement was serialized in Cosmopolitan before appearing in book form in early 1947. The Brick Foxhole, however, attracted Scott more powerfully, for a variety of reasons. First, Brooks's novel, with its seamy milieu, rather sordid characters, and violent, sensational murder plot, lent itself to the noir style and existential themes that Scott, Paxton, and Dmytryk had begun to develop in Murder, My Sweet and Cornered. Second, Brooks's political vision resonated profoundly for Scott. Like many progressives of that era, they both understood intolerance to be a product of ignorance and hatred, and saw anti-Semitism as part of a larger constellation of essentially interchangeable and equally irrational prejudices. For both men, this inclusive bigotry was symptomatic of an "authoritarian personality" that, if unchecked, could form the basis of a fascist state in America. Third, Scott was attracted by the novel's exploration of the slippage between the rhetoric of popular nationalism and the reality of widespread intolerance and injustice. Brooks's depiction of the ennui, despair, and intolerance of the soldiers corroborated Scott's vision of a postwar world filled with dangerous and potentially explosive uncertainties. Most importantly, however, both men embraced a liberal universalism, in which difference is erased and all people are seen as essentially the same. For example, when Scott and Paxton discussed the adaptation with Brooks, he agreed fully with Scott's plan to focus the film on Monty's anti-Semitism and to change the murder victim from a homosexual to a Jew, saying, "They got the same problems. Everybody does."53

39Several historians have assumed that the Production Code's ban on the depiction of homosexuality was Scott's main reason for changing the murder victim from a homosexual to a Jew, implying that in the absence of such restrictions he might not have made such a critical change.54 Certainly, Scott was concerned about getting this project past the industry censors, but it is clear that his political concern—his belief that rising anti-Semitism was a harbinger of fascism in America—was more important than censorship issues in this case. From the beginning, he intended to make a film exposing the dangers of anti-Semitism rather than homophobia, and he chose The Brick Foxhole for its explication of the irrational hatred that fueled a wide range of prejudices. Though I agree with James Naremore's contention that "World War II had made attacks on anti-Semitism topical, safe, and even patriotic,"55 I think he underestimates the impact of Crossfire's depiction of the murder of a Jew by an American soldier. Scott's insistence that anti-Semitism in America could have violent and potentially murderous consequences was profoundly disturbing and injects the problem of American anti-Semitism with an urgency lacking in a "safer" attack on anti-Semitism such as Gentleman's Agreement. Also, the fact that the murder in Crossfire is committed by an American soldier, by "one of us," rather than a German Nazi or other threatening outsider, raises the unsettling specter of fascism as a specifically domestic problem, a specter made all the more chilling by the European example of the consequences of anti-Semitism and the graphic images of the bodies of murdered Jews that were widely disseminated after the liberation of the Nazi death camps. In this context, changing the focus from homophobia to anti-Semitism did not necessarily eradicate the film's subversive potential or the political objections to it.

40At the same time however, Scott's own attitudes toward homosexuality did play a role in his decision to change the murder victim from a gay man to a Jew. For Scott, like many leftists of this period—and indeed, for some gay people—homophobia or gay rights were not specifically political issues in the same way that the rights of labor or the oppression of blacks clearly were. For the Communist Party, in particular, despite its official positions against, for example, male chauvinism, the "personal" politics of gender and sexuality were distinctly subordinate to the "public" politics of class and race.56 At the same time, Scott himself was ambivalent toward homosexuality, in ways that we might now consider homophobic. Like many in the 1940s, he saw homosexuality as a form of mental illness, an aberration of nature, and believed that the practices of homosexuals should be neutralized through therapy and adjustment. Nevertheless, he deplored the public ridicule and contempt leveled at gays and was outraged by the postwar purge of homosexuals from the State Department, as evidenced by his letter to the editor of the New York Herald Tribune, written in the mid-1950s. Clearly seeing the parallel to his own blacklisting, Scott defended the rights of gays to keep their jobs. He argued, "To do otherwise is an uncivilized practice, one which does not advance us prominently as an understanding people." Scott added, however, "I am not now, nor have I ever been a homosexual, nor do I intend to be."57

41 Related document:
Scott, typescript of "Some of My Worst Friends" (PDF)
This disclaimer, echoing the language used by HUAC in its investigations of Reds, is intriguing. Did Scott hope to convince readers that his defense of homosexuals was a principled stand against discrimination, uncompromised by any conflict of interest? Is it simply an ironic reference to Scott's own experiences with the Committee and its smear tactics? Or might it suggest a concern that readers would mistake Scott's defense of homosexuals as evidence of his own homosexuality? Whatever his intention, I think Scott's disavowal is significant, particularly in light of his consistent refusal to publicly discuss his own ethnic background, which became an issue after Crossfire was released:

A troubled few had difficulty assigning the right motives to the making and to the makers of Crossfire. Eddie Dmytryk was labeled a Jew. It was said that I was a Jew, too, a fact which I had managed to conceal for many years but which now came out since I was involved in the project. Of John Paxton . . . it was noted by someone who read the script that he couldn't possibly have been this brilliant about antisemitism unless he himself was an antisemite. Finally, it was said categorically that the whole bunch at RKO involved in this project were Jews.58

For Scott, it was a point of pride to refuse to rise to such Jew-baiting. As he wrote to columnist Earl Wilson, "We none of us bothered to answer the attack. We didn't want this interpreted as an admission that we preferred to be known as Gentiles. It would have been a kind of anti-Semitism in itself."59 Despite Scott's limitations on issues of sexuality, there is a kind of heroism in his commitment to cross-class, cross-race solidarity that is reminiscent of the pivotal scene in Spartacus (1960), written by his close friend and fellow Communist Dalton Trumbo: When the Roman commander demands that the slave Spartacus identify himself so that he can be punished for his subversion, the band of slaves rallies around him and each calls out, "I am Spartacus! No, I am Spartacus!" It was this affective solidarity that made the Popular Front so appealing and powerful.

42At the same time, however, it is critically important to recognize that Scott could take pride in his refusal to comment on his ethnicity precisely because he was not Jewish. Indeed, Scott's risk-taking was enabled by his own privileged position, both in the film industry and the culture at large. His middle-class upbringing, his elite education, even his Irish Catholic background (which, read against the "Jewishness" of Hollywood, marked him definitively as "white") made Scott an insider and gave him a sense of belonging, even authenticity, that an "outsider" like Richard Brooks simply could not take for granted in 1940s America. Despite Scott's sincere solidarity with the oppressed—he is a "class traitor" (and proud of it!)—his privileged position translated into an abiding faith in the American democratic tradition. Scott's idealism, so profoundly at odds with Brooks's pessimism, significantly shaped his creative and political decisions in adapting The Brick Foxhole.

43Ultimately, I think Scott preferred the riskiness of The Brick Foxhole to a liberal text like Gentleman's Agreement or even the more challenging novel Focus because using Brooks's novel reinforced his sense of himself as both a political radical and a cutting-edge, even controversial, filmmaker. This is not to say that Scott's political motivations were not sincere; I believe that they were. However, it is important to recognize that, even as Scott worried about the opposition to his plans for an anti–anti-Semitism film, he also welcomed it, even sought it out by choosing The Brick Foxhole as his literary source, because it confirmed that he—like the antifascist heroes in The Brick Foxhole—was a risk-taking individual. In this sense, then, I think he saw Crossfire as an act of resistance, both against the rising tide of racist conservatism that challenged his vision of a truly democratic America and against the political constraints and aesthetic limitations of the studio system.

Pitching The Brick Foxhole

44Soon after The Brick Foxhole was published, Scott approached the RKO front office to discuss purchasing the film rights to the novel. In July 1945, RKO executive William Gordon sent a copy of the novel to the Production Code Administration for consideration by Joseph Breen. Gordon had spoken to Breen's assistant, Mr. Shurlock, about The Brick Foxhole and, despite Shurlock's lukewarm response, forwarded the novel anyway. Gordon's cover letter to Breen is hat in hand, almost subservient: "While we recognize that as presently constituted, this novel will probably not pass muster under the Production Code, we yet would appreciate the opportunity to discuss a certain treatment which one of our producers has in mind." Clearly, Scott had already broached the idea of The Brick Foxhole as an expose of anti-Semitism. However, Breen's reply was swift and absolute: "We have read the novel, The Brick Foxhole, and, as you can well understand, the story is thoroughly and completely unacceptable, on a dozen or more counts. It, also, goes without saying that any motion picture following, even remotely, along the lines in the novel, could not be approved."60

45It should have come as no surprise to Scott or RKO that The Brick Foxhole received the kiss of death from the Breen Office. The novel's "dozen or more" violations of the Production Code included homosexuality ("sex perversion"), prostitution, adultery, illicit sex, nudity, obscenity, profanity, blasphemy, revenge, excessive use of alcohol, bigotry, and the use of racial or ethnic slurs. In addition, the novel might well have been seen as violating the PCA's first General Principal: "No picture shall be produced which will lower the moral standards of those who see it."61

46 Related document:
Scott to Dozier and Koerner, CF Pitch Memo (PDF)
Despite the discouraging verdict from the Breen Office, Scott did not give up on The Brick Foxhole. Almost a year later, in early 1946, even before filming had begun on Cornered, he again pitched his vision to the RKO front office. Studio executives Charles Koerner and William Dozier suggested that Scott write a prospectus for them detailing how he would translate Brooks's "completely unacceptable" novel to film. Scott's memo is prefaced by a series of titles designed to illustrate the fecundity of the material, but which also provide a glimpse into Scott's sense of humor:


47Scott's memo to Dozier and Koerner is a brilliant pitch piece that weaves together words that are music to front-office ears—"low cost" and "box-office appeal"—with his own stirring idealism. Scott opened his pitch with a discussion of money, promising that the picture could be made for only $250,000. Noting that he, Dmytryk, and Paxton were currently turning out two pictures a year, Scott suggested that the trio would charge their normal rates on two films for the 1947 schedule, and would work on The Brick Foxhole as an extra assignment, charging only a nominal fixed fee. Though Scott suggested $5,000 apiece, he also intimated that the trio would be willing to work gratis in order to see the picture made.63

48Scott also argued that production costs could be kept to a minimum if the film were shot on a tight schedule of only twenty-one to twenty-five days, which Dmytryk had assured him was possible if the schedule was well-planned and sets "clearly visualized" before shooting started. Reminding the executives that Dmytryk "knows how to shoot fast," Scott promised that the director would be "helped by a tight script without one superfluous scene, a script written and timed for length." And, to reiterate to the executives that excellent films did not necessarily require big budgets and long shooting schedules, he pointed out that John Ford had filmed the Academy Award–winning The Informer in only eighteen days.

49Scott also pitched The Brick Foxhole as a star-making project, another angle designed to appeal to the bottom-line sensibilities of studio executives. Arguing that the "characters in this book are all dynamite," Scott predicted that the three male leads would yield "at least one star if the boys are carefully selected" and that the female role of Ginny, though not large, also had the "earmarks of a star-making role." Scott's plan was to use actors already under contract to RKO—"our boys, Mitchum, Tierney, Bill Williams, etc." If that group proved unsatisfactory, Scott suggested that they "look among the returned veterans for new and interesting personalities," pointing out the success of that strategy for Warner Bros.'s Destination Tokyo, which had made stars of Robert Hutton, William Prince, and Dane Clark. Scott also dangled the possibility of Dick Powell starring in one of the male leads. Though he was concerned that "Powell's dough is pretty high for us if we expect to bring it in for $250,000," he also suggested that the studio might be willing to consider a percentage deal if the actor's going rate of $50,000 per picture proved too expensive.64

50Interestingly, John Paxton has suggested that Scott didn't tell the RKO front office his real plans for the adaptation of The Brick Foxhole. As he recalled:

I doubt if he really told them what it was all about—"It's about some soldiers in Washington . . . " I think that's just about all he told them. I don't think he would have dared mention any idea about anti-Semitism, but the studio had this list of picture categories, with so many love stories, so many melodramas, and really all the studio knew about that was it was a melodrama.65

51Paxton's memory was probably influenced by his experience of the difficulties they had faced on Cornered. However, he is incorrect. In his memo to Dozier and Koerner, Scott was remarkably frank about his plans for an anti–anti-Semitism film as well as the political concerns that underlay his vision. Scott's argument clearly reveals the liberal universalism—the belief that prejudices were essentially irrational and interchangeable—that he shared with Richard Brooks. However, it also suggests the extent to which they both conceived of the fascist threat to America in terms of individual personalities rather than an organized state apparatus. Scott's target is not the state but "the prejudices which exist in the American people which when organized lead very simply to native Fascism."66 These dangerous, irrational prejudices, which can be deployed against any number of different "enemies," threaten the solidarity of the imagined community of Americans:

This is a story of personal fascism as opposed to organized fascism. The story, in a very minor sense to be sure, indicates how it is possible for us to have a gestapo, if this country should go fascist. A character like Monty would qualify brilliantly for the leadership of the Belsen concentration camp. Fascism hates weakness in people; minorities. Monty hates fairies, negroes, jews and foreigners. In the book Monty murders a fairy. He could have murdered a negro, a foreigner or a jew. It would have been the same thing.

And then he outlines the moral high ground, the political—and in Scott's mind, most important—argument for filming The Brick Foxhole: "Anti-semitism is not declining as a result of Hitler's defeat. The recent negro race riots even in a high school (an unheard of event in this country) is symptomatic of the whole cancer. Anti-semitism and anti-negroism will grow unless heroic measures can be undertaken to stop them. This picture is one such measure."67

52Scott concluded his memo by reiterating the reasons they wanted to make the film: "Dmytryk, Paxton and I . . . are ambitious. We want to make fine pictures. This will be a fine picture." He also assured the money men that his political vision would not compromise the film's box-office potential, promising, "This will never in our hands be a depressing pamphlet. It will have all the rugged excitement and speed of Murder, My Sweet and a white hot issue to boot."68

53Scott's memo worked. In March 1946, RKO paid $1,500 for a nine-month option on The Brick Foxhole, with the stipulation that the studio could extend the option for an additional six months for $1,000 against the purchase price of $15,000 if they did so by December 5, 1946.69 Later, Scott suggested that William Dozier's decision to take out the option on the novel was influenced by his own concerns about native anti-Semitism, which Dozier believed had increased since the end of the war and military defeat of fascism abroad.70

54Whether unable to contain his delight over RKO's decision to purchase the film rights to The Brick Foxhole or fearful that the studio would back out of the deal, Scott immediately embarked on a public relations campaign to advertise the project. On Thursday, March 28, Virginia Wright, the drama editor at the Los Angeles Daily News, devoted her entire column to the upcoming projects planned by Scott's production unit, including the adaptation of The Brick Foxhole, which she called "the most exciting story in Hollywood today."71 A personal friend to both Scott and Paxton, Wright shared their progressive politics (Myron Fagan, in Red Treason in Hollywood, described her as "notorious for her 'pink' complexion"),72 and she often used her column to promote their work. Interestingly, key portions of her column announcing Scott's plans for The Brick Foxhole are taken almost verbatim from his memo to Dozier and Koerner, suggesting that Scott himself shared the document with her. In addition to reprinting Scott's "commercial" arguments for the proposed film—low budget, tight script, short shooting schedule, and star-making potential—Wright also gave a great deal of space to his political reasons for wanting to adapt this particular novel, quoting Scott's comments about the theme of "personal fascism" in Brooks's novel and his own concerns about growing intolerance in America. Wright elaborated further, however, emphasizing Scott's challenge to Hollywood's silence on this issue: "Adrian Scott sees an opportunity here to bring the dangers of anti-Semitism into the open and to say dramatically what the movies have so long avoided saying."73

55From the first announcement in Wright's column, Scott's plans for an anti–anti-Semitism film provoked a flurry of controversy in the film community. According to Scott, he and Paxton and Dmytryk received a number of worried and pessimistic telephone calls from others in the industry. Though he was certain that some were motivated by anti-Semitism, Scott believed that most of his colleagues felt "genuine anxiety about the project and thought it would be better left alone:"

Pictures should be made on the subject, the sources said, but not Crossfire. Others among the minority said Crossfire should be made but it should be done differently. Still others: if it were done badly, it would cause more antisemitism. Still others: If it were done well, it would be those smart Jews in Hollywood at work, and this, too, would not have the effect of abating but rather increasing antisemitism.74

56Scott received a similar response to his plans following a lecture at the People's Educational Center. One of the audience members, Irwin Steinhart, was a former film exhibitor, and he wrote Scott an extended letter predicting that the project was "doomed to failure." Drawing on the example of other "propaganda" films like The Ox-Bow Incident, Fury, and They Won't Forget, Steinhart warned Scott that audiences had failed to understand the message about "mass hysteria" in these films because they became too involved in the plot. While Steinhart commended Scott for his "obvious and intense desire to produce a picture, not for profit and for entertainment primarily, but for mass enlightenment," he predicted that a dramatic (rather than documentary) treatment of the dangers of anti-Semitism, as Scott envisioned, would meet a similar fate.75

57 Scott, notes from conversation with FlournoyScott, notes from conversation with Flournoy Concerns about the project also came from sources outside the film industry. During this pre-production period, Scott discussed the adaptation of The Brick Foxhole with Colonel Flournoy, a public relations representative with the U.S. Army Ground Forces in Los Angeles. Scott's notes from his telephone conversation with Flournoy record that the colonel had requested a conference to discuss his concerns over the representation of the Army in the novel. Flournoy said, "The book is a pretty sordid kind of story. It presents several soldiers as getting drunk and fooling around with pansies, etc.,—and we're always on the lookout to see that the Army will not be presented in a bad light to the public." He was particularly concerned because the current international situation was so unsettled. Arguing that the Army needed all the popular support it could possibly get, he reminded Scott of the "splendid" support the film industry had given the armed forces in the past. Flournoy offered his help as a technical advisor on "military customs and usages" and concluded with a plea to "treat the Army as well as you can." Scott replied somewhat noncommittally, assuring Flournoy that, although the film would not be made until the following year, it would deal with the Army only in that the characters would be in uniform and that the filmmakers had no intention of criticizing the Army or civilians.76

58Despite these early naysayers, Scott remained committed to The Brick Foxhole. Nevertheless, the various criticisms of the project powerfully shaped his perceptions of the material and the possibilities for adapting the novel to the screen. At that point, however, Scott, Paxton, and Dmytryk were deeply involved in the pre-production planning of their next film, an adaptation of James Hilton's novel So Well Remembered.77 Work on The Brick Foxhole was put on the back burner until the summer, when the three men traveled to England for six months to film So Well Remembered at the Rank studio at Denham. As one of the first American production companies to go abroad to film on location after the war, they were pioneers in a real sense, an early example of international cooperation in filmmaking.78 The trio rented rooms at a nearby farmhouse, which ironically had once belonged to the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Moseley. During the days, Scott and Dmytryk worked at the studio in Denham, while Paxton stayed behind to work on the adaptation of The Brick Foxhole. In their free time the trio discussed Paxton's progress on the screenplay:

In odd moments, when Dmytryk was momentarily free of directing, we kicked "The Foxhole" around Sir Oswald's grounds. On Sundays we took it out for walks through the overgrown gardens or out across the cow pasture where the natives believe Hitler once landed by plane to attend a meeting in Moseley's 13th Century barn. At night, occasionally, when the ghost of Lady Cynthia Moseley was supposed to roam the upper halls, we sat with it by the fire. It was a comfortable, lusty American thing to have along.79

Dmytryk remembers, more prosaically, "We all worked on it together. It became a question of thinking about the shape of it, the general color of it, the kind of mood we're going to have in it. We talked about cast, bouncing that around for a long time."80

59 At this point, however, the early criticisms of the project by their Hollywood colleagues began to loom large for Scott and Paxton, undermining their confidence in the very premise of the project and giving both men health problems. Scott developed a mysterious case of sinusitis, while Paxton had stomach problems that he blamed on the English food, though neither Scott nor Dmytryk had trouble with it. According to Scott, "We worried about [the project] more than we thought about it," and their story conferences produced not a script but a laundry list of reasons why the film couldn't be made:

1) It had never been done before. 2) They wouldn't let us do it. 3) Everybody says that pictures of this kind lose their shirts at the box-office. Besides, motion pictures decline social responsibility. They have one responsibility only: to stockholders, to make them rich or richer. . . . 4) This was the wrong way to do the subject. 5) Actors would not risk their reputations. 6) A number of exhibitors would refuse to play the picture. 7) This picture would hurt somebody's feelings. Probably some nice anti-Semite's. 8) This was not an effective way to combat anti-Semitism. It was much better not to talk about it.

And, having exhausted that, we continued discussions on the most effective way of making it.81

60In Paxton's remembrance, "As usual we began to argue against ourselves. We argued that it would be impossible in a melodramatic framework to do a definitive picture on anti-semitism. We answered ourselves by saying it was too vast a subject for one picture, anyway. We could never hope to be definitive—we could only hope to make a small start." Though both Scott and Paxton had done a great deal of research on anti-Semitism, relying particularly on Ray Billington's history of intolerance, The Protestant Crusade, they still struggled with the basic format of the story: "We discussed a severe documentary approach, and discarded it. Wanting to save as much as possible of Brooks's introspective material, we discussed a 'Strange Interlude' device, tried it, and discarded it." Despite the months spent hashing over ideas and approaches, Paxton still had trouble conceptualizing the outlines of the story and made no significant progress on the screenplay: "I kept rereading the book and became more and more depressed by it."82

61Part of the problem seems to have been that Paxton was "not particularly keen" on the possibilities that Scott saw in the novel. But Scott refused to give up on The Brick Foxhole, and he "explained, exhorted, cajoled, bullied, persuaded, helped" until Paxton came around.83 Finally, as work on So Well Remembered neared completion, Paxton had a brainstorm, realizing that "the tension and menace of a cops and robbers format was the most promising" and that "the way to do it was strictly as a murder mystery—to follow the traditional clichés of the police investigation, with witnesses . . . [and a detective] who pursued the investigation as interminably as a Javert pursues a Jean Valjean." By the time they left for the United States in November 1946, Paxton had written a treatment but not yet completed a script.84

62Upon their return to Hollywood, the trio learned that the option on The Brick Foxhole was about to expire and the studio planned to drop it. Desperate to save their rights to the novel, they rushed to see Peter Rathvon, who had taken over as the interim head of production at RKO after Charles Koerner became ill with leukemia. As president of both the RKO production company and of RKO Theaters, Rathvon—as Scott put it—"speaks with some authority" and "was quite a man to have things out with." Rathvon had "run across" The Brick Foxhole while familiarizing himself with the studio, and although he was intrigued by Scott's pitch, he hadn't heard much about the proposed film since the creative trio had been abroad for six months. Believing that the "subject of anti-Semitism and its particular moment in history could be better analyzed with the passage of time," Rathvon had assumed that Scott would drop the option on his own. Still, he was not opposed to a picture on anti-Semitism and believed that this might be an ideal way of introducing new subject matter and combating the "general sterility" in filmmaking that had been "bothering him for some time." Rathvon ordered the option renewed, saying, "I'll gamble $1,000 on your enthusiasm."85

The Role of Dore Schary

63With the go-ahead from Rathvon, Paxton and Scott went to work on the screenplay, completing the first draft continuity on January 25, 1947.86 There was still another hurdle to cross, however: even as Rathvon agreed to gamble on The Brick Foxhole, he and RKO owner Floyd Odlum were negotiating for Dore Schary to take over as RKO's vice president in charge of production. Schary assumed his new position on January 1, 1947, and it was now Schary, rather than Rathvon, who was responsible for the fate of The Brick Foxhole. Though Scott was pleased with their first screenplay draft, he was still greatly worried by the prospect of getting Schary's approval for a film on anti-Semitism:

Schary was new. He had an extremely difficult job of reorganization facing him. Sure, he wanted to make pictures with a mature content. He was on record as saying that. But anti-Semitism was a different matter. This was an explosive subject. It would be highly embarrassing to present him with a decision of this nature a few weeks after arriving on the lot. Was it right to do it now? Maybe a few months from now? These were our nightmares.87

Though Scott had developed ulcers by this point, in many ways he could not have asked for a better production head than Dore Schary. Schary's own experience both as a screenwriter-turned-producer-turned–studio executive and as an outspoken, hardworking liberal Jewish activist gave Schary an outlook uncommon among the industry executives.88

64Born in 1905 in Newark, New Jersey, Schary was the youngest son of Russian Jewish immigrants. In his several years as an off-Broadway and Borscht Belt actor, Schary had one significant success, playing a supporting role in John Wexley's play The Last Mile, which starred Spencer Tracy. Schary was also an aspiring playwright, and in 1932 he was recruited by Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, and moved to Hollywood to try his hand at screenwriting. After a year of moderate success writing for Columbia's B-unit, Schary was fired summarily when he asked for a raise. He spent the next few years on the "script-writing carousel," taking a "long string of quick assignments" at nearly every major and minor studio in town, from glitzy MGM to low-budget Monogram. In 1938, Schary was hired at MGM to write a screenplay about a home for wayward boys in Omaha, Nebraska; that film, Boys Town, earned Academy Awards for its star, Spencer Tracy, and for Dore Schary, for his original story.89

65Following his success with Boys Town, as well as with Young Tom Edison and Edison the Man (both 1940), Schary hoped to tackle not only the writing but also the directing of his next project, Joe Smith, American. In a meeting with Louis B. Mayer, Schary pitched his plan for a low-budget (hence, low-risk) project. Like Scott, Schary believed that a B picture could still be a good picture, and he openly criticized MGM's low-budget films as lacking "punch and point." He told Mayer that in his view, "low-cost pictures should dare—should challenge—that they also should be used as a testing ground for new talent—directors, writers, actors, producers." Schary's agent was sure that this outspokenness would cost Schary his job; instead, Mayer promoted him, putting him in charge of production for MGM's entire B-unit. Schary put together a crack team of new young writers, producers, and directors that both made money for MGM and raised the quality of the studio's B pictures. However, internal friction, particularly with aging executive Maurice Rapf, and the studio's decision to cancel production of Storm in the West, an antifascist allegory Schary had written with novelist Sinclair Lewis, convinced him that it was time to leave MGM. Accepting a position with independent producer David O. Selznick, Schary took charge of his own production unit, and over the next three years produced a string of well-received films, including I'll Be Seeing You (1944), The Spiral Staircase (1945), Till the End of Time (1946), The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947), and The Farmer's Daughter (1947).90

66As part of Selznick's independent production deal, most of Schary's movies were filmed on the RKO lot, and Schary was very familiar with the studio and its practices and personnel by the time he became the head of production in early 1947. Significantly, in 1946, Schary had worked with Edward Dmytryk on Till the End of Time, a postwar reintegration drama. Often considered a low-budget The Best Years of Our Lives, Till the End of Time follows the same general plotline: three demobilized soldiers, one disabled as a result of his wounds, rely on each other in their struggle to "return to normalcy." The film's final scenes are actually quite radical in their suggestion that the antifascist war must now be waged on the home front, as the three soldiers (Robert Mitchum, Bill Williams, and Guy Madison) take on members of a racist veterans' organization in a barroom brawl. In an exchange that is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Crossfire, the protofascist organizers try to recruit the soldiers into the veterans' group—if they can demonstrate that they are not Jews, Catholics, or Negroes. Mitchum responds to their overture by telling the story of his friend Maxie Klein, who was killed at Guadalcanal. Saying, "If Maxie were here, he'd spit in your eye," Mitchum acts in Maxie's stead, launching a wad of spit that begins the fistfight. Even the paralyzed soldier (a former boxer) finds that by balancing himself against the wall, he, too, can get in a few good punches. Screaming, "Send them to me!" he regains his manhood through his participation in the battle. In contrast to The Best Years of Our Lives, which suggests that the "return to normalcy" requires that the male bonds of wartime be replaced by privatized, heterosexual domesticity, Till the End of Time insists that those male bonds be maintained and channeled into the postwar struggle against fascism at home.91

67Thus, by the time he was recruited by RKO, Schary had established a solid reputation as a visionary, both as a creative artist and an industry executive. He was equally well-known, however, as an outspoken, liberal activist—a New Dealer par excellence. Beginning in the mid-1930s, Schary became politically active on several fronts, working with the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League; sitting on the Screen Writers Guild's bargaining committee, which finally won studio recognition of the union; serving as chairman of the Hollywood for Roosevelt Committee's local reelection campaign in 1940; and writing pamphlets and speeches "lambasting Father Coughlin and Congressmen Bilbo and Rankin, along with the German-American Bund" for the Anti-Defamation League.92

68 Related document:
Report on Dore Schary, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, November 13, 1947
Schary's high profile in the Hollywood political community was such that as early as 1940 (years before either Scott or Dmytryk had come to the FBI's attention), informants were dropping his name to the FBI as "one of a group of individuals who had been sympathetic with Communists, had attended Communist gatherings, had helped raise funds by allowing the use of his name, and had knowingly traveled with Party members." Various informants detailed Schary's involvement with a number of Communist front organizations during the 1940s, including the Jewish Peoples Committee, the League of American Writers, the Hollywood Writers Mobilization, the Council for Civic Unity, the American Arts Committee for Palestine, the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief, American Youth for Democracy, and the Hollywood Independent Citizens Council for Arts, Sciences and Professions (formerly the Hollywood Democratic Committee). In addition to compiling Schary's political affiliations, several of the informants offered their opinions of his character. One described him as "one who is always pushing some new movement or group of social significance." The file continues, "This informant stated that Schary is a consistent protester against 'reactionism' and Fascism and was a strong advocate of the 'Second Front Now.' The informant added that Schary is open in his contempt for the Southern white man." Another advised that "Schary had 'pinkish' tendencies but that he did not believe that Schary could be classified as one of the more dangerous figures in the film colony. The informant . . . supposed that Schary considered himself a liberal thinker. He characterized Schary as the type of individual who argued sincerely for what he thought was right even though others may not have agreed with him." Significantly, the issue of radical influence over film content was evident in a number of informer comments, including those of one who described Schary as "probably the most potent of MGM studios' 'Comrades,'" and complained that Schary used his power at the studio "to hire and fire" and "consistently absorbed into his unit only those writers and producers whose philosophy and politics agreed with his own." This informant also noted that "Schary insisted that all the pictures produced by his unit contain social significance and that Schary had engaged in the glorification of the Negro race."93

69 Related document:
Virginia Wright, L.A. Daily News, July 15, 1947 (PDF)
Clearly, Schary's political commitments intersected with his vision as a filmmaker, and he was a leading spokesperson for those who believed that Hollywood movies could be both entertaining and socially relevant. Like other Hollywood progressives, he saw enormous opportunities for political filmmaking in the postwar period. In Virginia Wright's column, Schary went "on the record" with his belief that postwar audiences wanted more "adult" fare and his commitment to making message movies:

Our responsibility as citizens and picture makers is to make sure that no one gets us into another war. We've got to point out in films that World War II was worth fighting; that it destroyed Naziism [sic]; that the past was worth living and that the future will be more worth living because of the past. . . . We must be alert, vigilant, be willing to portray whatever evil and sinister forces spring up, and attack them by the use of our talents and our skill and our power as a medium.94

70 In late February, Scott presented Schary with the final draft of Paxton's screenplay, for his approval. The wait to hear Schary's comments was agonizing for Scott. As he described it, "[That] night . . . , two sleeping pills didn't work. I arrived haggard the next morning—a little late. I learned that Mr. Schary had made an appointment with my secretary—I was due in his office in ten minutes. So I went up." Despite Scott's concerns, Schary made an "overnight" decision to put the film into immediate production and even postponed the starting dates of two other films and approved the use of stages and sets from other pictures to help keep down the production costs. According to Scott, Schary said, "'I think this will make a good picture. Let's go.' Overnight, the lot was transformed into a unit for Crossfire. Every department swung into operation to meet the challenge of making an 'A' picture on a 'B' budget."95  Paxton remembered, "The single most important factor in the making of Crossfire, to me, was the speed and excitement with which it was made. The day Schary approved the project, a little parade went off around the lot . . . looking for sets that could be borrowed or adapted or stolen. An unusual procedure with front office blessing."96

71Schary's decision to put Crossfire into immediate production was also spurred by Darryl F. Zanuck's recent announcement that Twentieth Century–Fox had purchased the rights to Gentleman's Agreement, Laura Z. Hobson's best-selling novel about anti-Semitism. On March 6, 1947, the Los Angeles Times ran a brief story on RKO's decision to make Crossfire, asking, "Can this be an early offset . . . for 20th's Gentleman's Agreement that is receiving so much advance ballyhoo?"97  Schary himself later admitted that the competition with Zanuck and Gentleman's Agreement was a key factor in his decision to greenlight Crossfire: "[Zanuck] expressed his annoyance at my having put Crossfire into work before his film. We exchanged a few notes—then a phone call during which I was compelled to tell him he had not discovered anti-Semitism and it would take far more than two pictures to eradicate it. The conversation ended with both of us not having budged one inch."98

72While Schary clearly supported Crossfire, there is some debate over the extent of his participation in the production of the film.99 Certainly his greatest contribution was in casting decisions. In February, in the first formal casting conferences, some very big names were discussed for the leading roles: James Cagney, Melyvn Douglas, and Pat O'Brien were initially considered for the role of Finlay, while John Garfield was an early contender for the role of Keeley. Scott's 1946 memo had indicated that Dick Powell was interested in Crossfire, but Scott was concerned that Powell's salary of $50,000 was too expensive for the low-budget project. Though Powell was not considered in these casting conferences, by early 1947, star salaries were no longer an issue. The final budget for Crossfire came in at $589,000—more than twice the amount Scott had originally pitched—largely because of Schary's decision to invest in expensive actors with box-office appeal, allotting $125,000 for the three male leads.100 Robert Young, on loan from Columbia for a whopping $100,000, was cast as Finlay, while Robert Mitchum was cast as Keeley and Robert Ryan as Monty. As RKO contract players, both Ryan and Mitchum had worked with Dmytryk before. Ryan had played a supporting role in Behind the Rising Sun (1943) and had starred with Ginger Rogers in Tender Comrade (1944), while Mitchum had played one of the trio of returning GIs in Till the End of Time (1946). By 1947, both actors personified what film historian Robert Sklar calls the "city boy"—an edgy, rebellious, often working-class, and quintessentially masculine American type.101 Character actor Sam Levene was cast in the role of Samuels, the Jewish murder victim. For the role of Ginny, Scott and Dmytryk were looking for "freshness and vulnerability under a hard exterior." Jane Greer, who by 1947 was developing a "bad girl" screen persona with performances in They Won't Believe Me and Out of the Past, was an early contender for the role of Ginny, but once Scott and Dmytryk saw Gloria Grahame's screen test, the part went to her.102 The rest of the picture was cast with RKO contract players, all virtual unknowns.

73Despite Scott's early concern that actors might see such a controversial film as career suicide, the cast was enormously excited by the project. Paxton remembers that the actors "took fire" and worked "like sons of bitches on their characters." Several were studying with outside acting teachers or coaches, who also got into the spirit. Charles Laughton, who worked with Bill Phipps, the actor who played one of the supporting roles, was particularly thrilled by the production.103 According to Scott, "Robert Young left Columbia at 12 o'clock, having finished one picture, and at 1 o'clock started Crossfire. Robert Mitchum cut short a vacation. Robert Ryan would have murdered anyone who prevented him from playing the part of the anti-Semite."104 In fact, Ryan's enthusiasm became the stuff of studio lore. In the version that appeared in the Rivoli Theater program (produced by the RKO publicity department), Ryan and Brooks were wartime buddies, and when Ryan read the book, he went after the role of Montgomery, bullying Scott and Dmytryk into casting him. In the version told by Brooks himself, he and Ryan were Marines together. Ryan approached Brooks, either at Camp Pendleton or at the library at Quantico, congratulated him on The Brick Foxhole, and said, "One of these days they're gonna make that into a movie and I'm gonna play that Sergeant." Brooks replied, "Are you really?" and Ryan said, "Yeah, I know that son of a bitch. . . . No one knows him better than I do." Three years later, according to Brooks, as he was leaving the theater after the Los Angeles preview of Crossfire, a man tapped him on the shoulder. It was Ryan, who wanted to know what Brooks had thought of his portrayal of Monty.105

74Schary clearly played a critical role in the casting of Crossfire, since only he—and certainly not Scott—had the authority to double the film's budget in order to hire Young, Mitchum, and Ryan. There is some question, however, as to the extent of Schary's contribution to the screenplay. Schary remembered, for example, that he played a key role in revising the script, while Paxton insisted that Schary had little input; in fact, he was outraged by such claims in Schary's autobiography:

As he remembers it in Heyday, Schary rescued a sick script from rejection and oblivion. "It needed work," he says. . . . "We spent time pruning and refining it until it was strong and shiny as steel. . . ." We did no such thing. One of the happy results of the studio's eagerness (Schary's eagerness) to have Crossfire out before Gentleman's Agreement was that there was little time for the nervous, endless front-office polishing that has rubbed so many interesting films to death. Except for very minor editing and some clumsy meddling by the censors, the script was shot almost exactly as prepared by Scott.106

Paxton's outrage may well have been influenced by Schary's role in firing Scott and Dmytryk after the HUAC hearings, and by the fact that Schary continued to accept awards and kudos for Crossfire without acknowledging the work of the blacklisted filmmakers.

75 Related document:
Schary to Scott, March 4, 1947 (PDF)
However, in the spring and summer of 1947, both Scott and Schary were committed to making Crossfire and had developed a warm friendship and positive working relationship. On March 4, the day filming began, Schary sent a note to Scott: "I never thought you would be making this one, but I am sold as a result of your work and enthusiasm. My congratulations and thanks for doing a job that I am sure is going to be an enormous credit to you." Scott, in turn, publicly acknowledged Schary's support and contributions to the project. Speaking on Crossfire's production history at a PCA-sponsored forum in July, Scott stated, "Conferences were held with Schary, who made suggestions which improved the script. This, of course, is revolution, when it is necessary to admit into the record that the contributions of a studio head were not only used but welcomed."107

76Though it is unlikely that Schary made truly substantive contributions to the screenplay, nevertheless, he did play a critical supportive role, bolstering Scott's confidence in his ability to guide the project through the studio system and rearranging shooting schedules to rush the film into production. A greater external influence on the project, however, was Scott and Paxton's expectation of censorship—from the Breen Office, the Office of War Information and its military advisors, and their own colleagues in the film industry—which powerfully shaped Scott and Paxton's approach to Crossfire from the earliest conceptual stages.

Adapting The Brick Foxhole

77Paxton remembers, "As soon as I discovered the cliché format I wrote the damned thing in five weeks. It was the fastest picture I ever wrote."108 Though the decision to follow the genre conventions of the traditional thriller—to focus on the murder and ensuing police investigation—solved many of the structural problems Paxton had wrestled with in England, the resulting revisions ultimately created new problems. In The Brick Foxhole, the murder does not occur until the ninth chapter, ninety pages into the story, and then is only alluded to, while the manhunt itself only gets underway in the last third of the novel. To make the script work as a police procedural, Scott and Paxton decided to scrap the entire first half of the novel, in effect deleting many of the scenes that had carried the weight of the novel's attack on intolerance and the dangers of fascism, particularly the boxing match between Max Brock and Whitey.

78The erasure of Max Brock is particularly important. In The Brick Foxhole, Max is a manly, fighting Jew, a liberal spokesman for universalism and the inclusion of Others within the imagined community of Americans. Max's performance of masculinity is decidedly heroic, all the more so because he refuses to deny his Jewishness and proudly fights like a man for recognition of his essential humanity. In Crossfire, the sole Jew is Samuels, who replaced Mr. Edwards as the passive victim of irrational prejudice. Though, as we will see, Scott and Paxton tried to create a "good" Jew in the character of Samuels, the manly heroism of Max was lost in the translation, and instead, the passivity and even effeminacy of Mr. Edwards bleeds through in the representation of Samuels. Similarly, despite the efforts of Scott and Paxton to "straighten" The Brick Foxhole, the homosocial and potentially homoerotic bonds between men represented by Brooks could not be completely excised from Crossfire. They linger around the edges of the text, emerging not only in the representation of the Jewish murder victim, but especially in the relationships between the soldiers.

79In early 1946, Scott and Paxton still saw Keeley as the story's hero. At this point, they planned to end the film with Keeley as the risk-taking antifascist hero, though they included the other soldiers in the denouement. Though Scott found the final fight scene between Keeley and Monty "tough to swallow" and planned to "overhaul" the ending, he was certain that "Monty's death is a must, of course." Thus, he envisioned "a series of taut suspense sequences during which the soldiers led by Keeley try to trap Monty and finally succeed."109 However, once Paxton decided to write the screenplay around the conventions of the police procedural, Finlay usurps Keeley as the film's main antifascist agent and he, rather than Keeley, becomes responsible for bringing Monty to justice. Though Keeley remains a pivotal figure, the film emphasizes his collaboration with Finlay, rather than his individual heroism, and reaffirms the centrality of the Popular Front in the antifascist struggle. Most significantly, perhaps, the genre conventions of the police procedural, in which the police detective Finlay leads the charge against intolerance and the fascist potential, shifted the locus of antifascist responsibility from the risk-taking individual to the state. Thus, instead of three battles pitting the forces of democracy against fascism, the film features three murders: Monty's murder of the Jew, Samuels, and of his buddy, Floyd, and finally, Finlay's killing of Monty as he tries to escape the net of justice.

80Though the conventions of the police procedural obviously demanded a larger role for the detective, the expansion of Finlay's character also reflected Scott's own political vision. In The Brick Foxhole, Brooks clearly identifies with Keeley and Max, the novel's spokesmen for liberal universalism. In Crossfire, however, this task was largely ceded to Finlay, the Irish Catholic cop, with whom Scott strongly identified. Indeed, I would argue that Scott was speaking of himself when he described Finlay as a man who "understands anti-Semitism because he's Irish and Catholic." Despite Scott's privileged position, he believed that his understanding (though not personal experience) of the historical oppression of the Irish—"his people"—gave him special insight into the experience of other oppressed groups like the Jews. Even at this early conceptual stage, Scott had created a historical backstory for Finlay, revolving around the murder of his grandfather, an Irish immigrant who was killed by anti-Catholic Know-Nothings. Clearly, Scott had been researching the history of intolerance in America, for he added, "This actually happened in New York City and Philadelphia in the last century."110 Indeed, the fact that, by the mid–twentieth century, the Irish had made the transition from racialized Others to "white folk" confirmed his sense that history was an inexorable and natural story of progress, from barbarism to civilization, from slavery to freedom. For Scott, it was logical and inevitable that Jews, like the Irish, would move over time from being despised outsiders to becoming full members of the imagined community of Americans. While his faith in the interchangeability of prejudice enabled him to ignore the historical specificity of anti-Semitism, his belief in the essential irrationality of prejudice enabled him to propose cultural solutions—education or "right thinking"—to a specifically political problem. In giving "public airing" to the problem of anti-Semitism, Crossfire would demonstrate that, just as there was no "good" reason to hate the Irish, there was no "good" reason to despise the Jews.111

81Scott also made a number of changes that he believed would make The Brick Foxhole more palatable to the censors as well as more credible for movie audiences. First, he updated the setting from wartime to the immediate postwar period, when the soldiers would be on terminal leave or awaiting discharge. Next, he rejected the device of the "overheard rumor" as too coincidental and "invalid." At this point, he planned to change Mitchell's motivation from the improbable scuttlebutt in the barracks to a fight with his wife: "It doesn't matter about what. Some difference regarding their future, where they will live, how they will live, what his job will be when he gets out. It is not important that a major issue should involve them. Something slight will intensify the misery and loneliness of an already miserable guy."112 Though Scott claimed that the details of the disagreement were unimportant, the examples he cites all involve problems with postwar readjustment, reflecting his belief that the "return to normalcy" would be fraught with difficulties, both for individuals and for the nation.

82The plot changes also led to several key changes in the minor characters of the novel. Even as they first began working on the adaptation, Scott and Paxton had recognized the impossibility of the whorehouse scenes and the need to rehabilitate the character of Ginny, given the limitations of the Production Code. Scott suggested using the familiar Hollywood strategy of "indirection" to portray Ginny as "a B-girl, working in a barroom."113 Floyd, too, was somewhat rehabilitated: no longer specifically identified as a Southerner or an outspoken racist, he is simply an "ordinary" guy who doesn't recognize the danger represented by Monty. Though Scott and Paxton deleted several key characters as they began the process of tightening the story, they also added several characters, particularly Miss Lewis, Samuels's girlfriend, and Leroy, a young soldier from Tennessee. Despite these changes in plot and characters, however, Scott and Paxton remained largely faithful to the remaining portions of the novel, using many scenes intact or simply compressing the dialogue.

83Input from outside agencies also influenced the adaptation process, though not to the extent feared by Scott. For example, in The Brick Foxhole, Brooks had emphasized the squalor and degradation of the soldiers and their barracks as symptoms of their vulnerability to fascist influences. In Crossfire, the representation of the military is markedly different, perhaps in deference to Colonel Flournoy, who had asked Scott in 1946 to "treat the Army as well as you can." Indeed, during the scriptwriting phase, RKO had consulted the public relations office of the Army, inviting a Colonel Davidson to read a draft of the screenplay and including him in a story conference in March 1947. Davidson's contributions were actually quite minor, and even then, sometimes not acted upon. For example, during his first interview with Finlay, Keeley comments, "Soldiers don't have anywhere to go unless you tell them where to go. When they're off duty, they go crawling. Or they go crazy." Though Davidson felt this line made the Army look bad and asked the filmmakers to delete it, it appears in the final filmed version of Crossfire.114 Nevertheless, Davidson's participation in the adaptation process, if only by his presence during discussions of the screenplay, surely influenced the representation of the military in the film.

84The Breen Office also influenced the adaptation process, though the changes requested were not as substantive as one might expect, given Breen's vehement rejection of The Brick Foxhole in early 1946. For the most part, the Breen Office merely asked the filmmakers to tone down the excessive consumption of alcohol in the script and to delete specific words—slang such as "lousy" and "nuts" as well as racial and ethnic slurs like "nigger" and "Yid"—that were forbidden by the Production Code.115 This lack of substantive comment reinforces Scott's assertion that he and his colleagues censored themselves in adapting The Brick Foxhole to film. Significantly, however, RKO did not formally take up the option on The Brick Foxhole until February 24, 1947, several days after Breen approved a final draft of the screenplay.116

Telling Stories, Telling Lies: Ruptured Narrative in Crossfire

85In adapting The Brick Foxhole, Paxton and Scott used once again the flashback sequences that had proved so powerfully innovative in Murder, My Sweet; this was perhaps the most radical change made during the adaptation process. Instead of the straightforward, chronological narrative of the novel, they constructed the screenplay around two flashbacks. In the first flashback, Monty gives his version of the meeting with Samuels, and in the second, Mitch provides an alternative take on the same events. As many critics have pointed out, flashbacks are a key narrative strategy in film noir, contributing to the genre's existential exploration of truth and falsehood.117 Historian William Graebner, suggesting the ways in which film noir prefigured postmodernism, explains, "By interrupting a traditional, linear narrative, the flashback challenged the form strongly identified with progress: the story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and open to all possibilities." Explicitly connecting the ruptured narrative strategies of film noir to the pervasive postwar sense of contingency and doubt, he argues:

In the context of a military victory that seemed to have been won at the cost of demonstrating the inhumanity of humankind, and of a cold war that called for eternal vigilance, the ability of a cultural text to produce a conclusion consistent with, and implied in, everything that had gone before—what literary scholar Frank Kermode calls "the sense of an ending"—withered and died.118

86In Crossfire, the ruptured narrative works not only to reinforce the untrustworthiness elaborated in The Brick Foxhole, but also, ironically, to challenge the filmmakers' own faith in progress. The flashbacks, which cast doubt on the truthfulness of the versions of events offered by Monty and Mitch, the serial lies told by The Man, and even Finlay's story of his grandfather, which as told to Leroy challenges Monty's stories about Jews, all force the audience to ask themselves, "Who can be trusted?" Certainly, this "storytelling" is embedded in the investigation that drives the plot: Finlay sifts through the "facts" to find the "truth." However, his search for the truth is not in the positivist investigative mode of the 1950s; Finlay is a far cry from Dragnet's Sgt. Joe Friday who wants "nothing but the facts." Instead, Finlay's investigation has an existential quality that presages the postmodern recognition that there is no master narrative, that no "answer" is complete or permanent. The moral and political contingencies produced by the war could not be contained, particularly by Scott's own idealist hopes for the forward march of history. Indeed, when "progress" produces scientifically managed concentration camps and atomic weapons, history itself becomes ironic. In the radical contingency of the 1940s, in which the banal evil of the Holocaust seemed matched by the barbarism of the atomic destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it became difficult to tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys." The existential solution, represented by Finlay, recognizes the impossibility of reconciling contradictions or imposing order, and instead, embraces the "primacy of the struggle, the value of waging the good fight for what one believed was right, if need be forever."119

87Crossfire's negotiation of these two competing impulses—the recognition of contingency and the idealist desire for progress—is one of the reasons academic critics have had such trouble with the film. On the one hand, Crossfire is often linked with Gentleman's Agreement, largely because both films were released in 1947 and both dealt with the problem of anti-Semitism. Critics who see Crossfire as a social problem film, however, tend to argue that it is inferior to Gentleman's Agreement because it explores the "radical fringe" of violent and depraved prejudice, while Gentleman's Agreement, however sanitized and relentlessly liberal, focuses on the "genteel" anti-Semitism practiced by "you and me."120 On the other hand, precisely because of its representation of the seamy underbelly of irrational hatred, as well as because of its visual and narrative style, scholars have also placed Crossfire in the ranks of film noir. Though these critics have been far kinder to Crossfire, they still are a bit troubled by the "liberal pronouncements" in the film, which seem to undercut the bleak existentialism that defines noir.121 I believe, however, that it is this very negotiation between despair and faith, between contingency and commitment that makes Crossfire so powerful. At the same time that the film forces viewers to ask, "Who can you trust?" it also demands that they declare, "Which side are you on?" These, I would argue, are the defining questions of Cold War America, and they resonated as powerfully for Crossfire's audiences as they did for its producers.


Note 1: "Hollywood Democratic Committee: Background," unsigned typescript, n.d., in Hollywood Democratic Committee [HDC] Papers, B1-F1, Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), 42. back

Note 2: HICCASP was the reincarnation of the Hollywood Democratic Committee. In the summer of 1945, HDC leaders agreed to affiliate with the New York–based Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions (ICCASP) and to change the organization's name to Hollywood ICCASP. This amalgamation was heralded as "the first step in creating a national, non-partisan, political organization of cultural workers . . . that will markedly influence the Peace." Invitation to Membership Meeting, June 6, 1945, in HDC Papers, B1-F11, WHS. back

Note 3: "Hollywood Democratic Committee: Background," in HDC Papers, B1-F1, WHS 47–48. back

Note 4: Letter from Raymond Booth, Council for Civic Unity, October 11, 1945, in HDC Papers, B8-F3, WHS. back

Note 5: Scott, draft notes for "You Can't Do That," n.d. [Spring–Summer 1947], in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 6: Scott, "You Can't Do That," in Thought Control in the U.S.A.: The Collected Proceedings, ed. Harold J. Salemson (Hollywood, Calif.: Progressive Citizens of America, 1947), 324. back

Note 7: Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (New York: Dell, 1961); James Jones, From Here to Eternity (New York: Scribner's, 1953); Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1948); Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions (New York: Random House, 1948). back

Note 8: Today, Richard Brooks is remembered primarily as the director of such Hollywood classics as The Blackboard Jungle (1955), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), In Cold Blood (1967), and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977). Though his film work has largely eclipsed his reputation as a novelist, writing was Brooks's first vocation. As a child Brooks wanted to be a newswriter when he grew up, a dream that was strongly encouraged by his parents. Born Ruben Sacks on May 18, 1912, in the slums of South Philadelphia, Richard Brooks was the only child of Jewish immigrants from the Crimea. Both of his parents were factory workers who learned to read and write English from newspapers. Pursuing his childhood ambition, he studied journalism at Temple University for three years. After the stock market crashed in 1929, however, one of his parents was fired and there was no more money for him to continue college. Trying to get a job with the Philadelphia Bulletin, he quickly learned that most newspapers were firing rather than hiring writers. Then, like many young men of his generation, Brooks hit the road, bumming around the country for two hard years, working all sorts of odd jobs to support himself, from washing dishes to digging ditches to picking cotton. During these years, Brooks came to believe that "just being hungry is a state of violence," and he began writing about his experiences on the road and selling those stories to newspapers. Eventually he landed full-time work as a newspaperman, and in the mid-1930s he moved to New York City, where he wrote crime news and special features for the World-Telegram. Moving to Hollywood in 1940, he went to work writing an original short story a day to fill a fifteen-minute air spot on the Blue Network, but quickly expanded into work as a script doctor at Universal Studios, and then wrote radio scripts for Orson Welles's Mercury Theater. Brooks's work as a screenwriter was confined largely to B films such as White Savage and Cobra Woman, and he soon grew frustrated with the ignorance and inanity of the studio system. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined Frank Capra's Motion Picture unit as a civilian and eventually worked on the Army's "Why We Fight" documentary series. In 1943, Brooks enlisted in the Marine Corps and, after completing boot camp in San Diego, was attached to the Photographic Section of the Second Marines and sent to the Pacific theater to film the invasions of Guam and the Marianas. When Brooks returned to the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, to assemble his combat footage into a documentary, he also began work on his first novel, The Brick Foxhole. Patrick McGilligan, "Richard Brooks: The Professional," in Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s, ed. Pat McGilligan (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), 35–36. The information on Brooks's name change came from "Real to Real: Interview with Richard Brooks," broadcast on American Movie Classics, January 18, 2000. Interestingly, none of the other interviews with or writings by Brooks mentions this name change. See McGilligan, "Richard Brooks: The Professional"; Interview with Richard Brooks, GQ, September 1985, 433; Interview with Richard Brooks, Los Angeles Magazine, January 1978, 120, both in Richard Brooks Biographical File, AMPAS; American Movie Classics Web site, back

Note 9: Richard Brooks, The Brick Foxhole (New York: Harper, 1945), 74. back

Note 10: Even the designation "GI Joe"—in which "GI" refers to "government issue"—reinforced the sense of "expendable human elements in the mass-produced machine of twentieth-century warfare." John Costello, Virtue under Fire: How World War II Changed Our Social and Sexual Attitudes (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985), 75. back

Note 11: Costello, Virtue under Fire, especially 76–99; Steven Cohan, Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), especially xiv–xv. back

Note 12: Judith Butler and other postmodern feminist theorists have powerfully argued that gender is a performance or a "cultural masquerade" rather than a product of universal and timeless biological sex. Challenging the idea that masculinity and femininity inhere in and flow "naturally" from biological sex—that men, for example, act like men because they are men—or even that biological sex itself is a "bodily given on which the construct of gender is artificially imposed," Butler argues that gender is performative because it "enacts or produces" the very normative phenomenon—"sex"—that it "regulates and constrains." As she puts it, "If gender consists of the social meanings that sex assumes, then sex does not accrue social meanings as additive properties but, rather, is replaced by the social meanings it takes on." Or, in the more accessible language used by Lisa Duggan, "Sexual representations construct identities (they do not merely reflect pre-existing ones)." Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" (New York: Routledge, 1993), 2, 5; Lisa Duggan quoted in Linda Kerber, "Gender," in Imagined Histories: American Historians Interpret the Past, ed. Anthony Mohlo and Gordon S. Wood (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 48. back

Note 13: For a fascinating exploration of the interconnections between Jewishness, masculinity, and Americanness, see Deborah Dash Moore, GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004). back

Note 14: The careers and contests of Joe Louis and Max Schmeling are the focus of several new books, including Lewis Erenberg, The Greatest Fight of Our Generation: Louis vs. Schmeling (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) and David Margolick, Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink (New York: Knopf, 2005). See also Jeffrey T. Sammons, Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988). On boxing as a performance of masculinity, albeit in an earlier period, see Elliot J. Gorn, The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America (Ithaca: Cornell University, 1986). back

Note 15: Ibid., 42–48. back

Note 16: Ibid., 44, 50–51. back

Note 17: Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew, trans. George J. Becker (New York: Schocken Books, 1965). back

Note 18: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 30. back

Note 19: Ibid., 34–35. back

Note 20: The fascist obsession with boundary-keeping has been explored by many current historians and theorists of fascism. As these scholars explain, a central goal of German fascism was to tame the cultural, sexual, and racial "disorder" of Weimar Germany and to impose a conservative order based on stringent biological hierarchies of sex and race in which virile, heterosexual, Aryan men embodied "order" and "normality." In the Nazis' biological order, sexual and racial difference confirmed the "naturalness" of the hierarchy. At the same time, however, these differences were potentially threatening to both the purity of the biological order and the stability of the sociopolitical order. In this simultaneous obsession with sex and race, Nazi ideology often conflated women and Jews as equal sources of contamination, pollution, or disorder. In this trope, deviant women and feminized male Jews were associated with decadent modernity and linked with other "disorderly" modern evils: the city, radicals, homosexuals, foreigners, criminals, jazz, modern art, and so on. The maintenance of fascist order thus required constant policing and regulation, whether the banishment of women to the private sphere to reproduce the master race, or the forced sterilization of "unfit" women; whether the internment of homosexuals in concentration camps, or the implementation of laws that both stringently defined the racial category of "Jew" and severely circumscribed the participation of Jews in German public life. See, for example, Sander Gilman, The Jew's Body (New York: Routledge, 1991); Klaus P. Fischer, The History of an Obsession: German Judeophobia and the Holocaust (New York: Continuum, 1998); Alice Yaeger Kaplan, Reproductions of Banality: Fascism, Literature, and French Intellectual Life (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986); Klaus Theweleit, Male Fantasies, vol. 1, Women, Floods, Bodies, Histories, trans. Stephen Conway (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987); Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987); Renate Bridenthal et al., eds., When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984); Atina Grossman, "The New Woman and the Rationalization of Sexuality in Weimar Germany" in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, Ann Snitow et al., eds. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983); and Richard Plant, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals (New York: Henry Holt, 1986). back

Note 21: On homosexuality in the military, see, for example, Costello, Virtue under Fire; and Allan Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II (New York: Free Press, 1990). On the postwar purge, see especially John D'Emilio, "The Homosexual Menace: The Politics of Sexuality in Cold War America," in Passion and Power: Sexuality in History, ed. Kathy Peiss and Christina Simmons (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989), 226–240, and Estelle B. Freedman, "'Uncontrolled Desires': The Response to the Sexual Psychopath, 1920–1960," in Passion and Power, ed. Peiss and Simmons, 199–225. back

Note 22: John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), 289. back

Note 23: Allan Bérubé, "Marching to a Different Drummer: Lesbian and Gay GIs in World War II," in Powers of Desire, ed. Snitow et al., 91–92. back

Note 24: Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire, 107. Citing The Brick Foxhole as a fictionalized example, Bérubé also notes, "Civilians who picked up soldiers and propositioned them, however, had to develop a cruising style that protected them from getting beaten, robbed or blackmailed by offended GIs." back

Note 25: George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Makings of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994). back

Note 26: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 86; on the "fairy," see Chauncey, Gay New York. back

Note 27: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 88. back

Note 28: Ibid., 89. back

Note 29: Ibid., 87–88. back

Note 30: Chauncey, Gay New York, 97. back

Note 31: Ibid., 60, 81. back

Note 32: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 91. back

Note 33: Ibid., 206–207. back

Note 34: Ibid., 208. back

Note 35: Ibid., 218–219. back

Note 36: Ibid., 225–226. back

Note 37: For a wide-ranging explication of the intersection of gender politics with domestic and foreign policy in postwar America, see Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (New York: Basic Books, 1999). On the therapeutic culture, see, for example, William Graebner, The Age of Doubt: American Life and Culture in the 1940s (Boston: Twayne, 1991), 101–120, and Lary May, ed., Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989). back

Note 38: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 227–230. back

Note 39: This is not to say that Brooks believed that the United States was literally a fascist state, but merely to reiterate that, for him, individuals rather than social institutions represented the antifascist vanguard. Brooks's negative characterization of Finlay is clearly linked to his recognition of the limitations of the liberal state. back

Note 40: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 230–233. back

Note 41: Ibid., 232–233. back

Note 42: Ibid., 173–174, 234–235. back

Note 43: Ibid., 234–235, 237. The Man's inability to "control" Ginny should be read against the strength Mitch takes from Mary's weakness. In postwar domestic ideology, a "normal" marriage depended on a strong husband and a deferential wife. See May, Homeward Bound. back

Note 44: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 237. back

Note 45: David Gerber, "Heroes and Misfits: The Troubled Social Reintegration of Disabled Veterans" in The Best Years of Our Lives, American Quarterly 46, no. 4 (December 1994): 550. back

Note 46: As Elaine Tyler May argues, female sexuality was a fundamental component of the postwar domestic ideology: "Male power was as necessary in the home as in the political realm, for the two were connected. Men in sexually fulfilling marriages would not be tempted by the degenerative seductions of the outside world that came from pornography, prostitution, 'loose women,' or homosexuals." May, Homeward Bound, 97. back

Note 47: Brooks, Brick Foxhole, 237–238. back

Note 48: Hamilton Basso, "Notes from Purgatory," The New Yorker 21:6 (June 2, 1945), 68; Niven Busch, "A Yell of Pain in War" The Saturday Review of Literature 28:22 (June 2, 1945): 12; Walter Bernstein, "Stateside Army," The New Republic 113:4 (July 23, 1945): 10; Sinclair Lewis, Esquire (1945). back

Note 49: Hellinger did, however, hire Brooks as a screenwriter after he was muscled out of the Marine Corps. Brooks wrote several gritty, noir-ish films for Hellinger, including The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), and, with John Huston, Key Largo (1948), before directing his first film in 1950. McGilligan, "Richard Brooks," 32–33, 41–44. back

Note 50: McGilligan, "Richard Brooks," 41. Odets and Scott were then working together on Deadline at Dawn, which Odets scripted and Scott produced. back

Note 51: Scott, "You Can't Do That," in Thought Control in the U.S.A., 324. back

Note 52: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 324, 328. back

Note 53: RKO memo, Scott to William Dozier and Charles Koerner, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, B1-F2, AHC; McGilligan, "Richard Brooks," 41. back

Note 54: See, for example, Otto Friedrich, City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s (New York: Harper and Row, 1986), 342; Keith Kelly and Clay Steinman, "Crossfire: A Dialectical Attack," Film Reader 3 (1978): 115; and Peter Roffman and Jim Purdy, The Hollywood Social Problem Film: Madness, Despair, and Politics from the Depression to the Fifties (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1981), 239. Even James Naremore, in his exceptionally nuanced reading of Crossfire, emphasizes the role of the Production Code Administration in the change: "To avoid potential objections from censors, Scott and Paxton eliminated all references to homosexuality, emphasizing instead the theme of race hatred." Naremore, More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1998), 115–116. back

Note 55: Naremore, More than Night, 116. At the same time that wartime popular nationalism encouraged cultural pluralism as a bulwark of American democracy, the OWI still kept a watchful eye to ensure that ethnic representations conformed to its vision of democratic, antifascist Americanism. For example, OWI censors were disturbed that the representation of anti-Semitism and finance capital in Mr. Skeffington (1944) was "gravely detrimental" to the OWI agenda because "the Jewish question is presented in such a way to give credence to the Nazi contention that the discrimination for which Americans condemn fascists, is an integral part of American democracy." OWI quoted in Lary May, "Making the American Consensus: The Narrative of Conversion and Subversion in World War II Films," in The War in American Culture: Society and Consciousness during World War II, ed. Lewis A. Erenberg and Susan E. Hirsch (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 78. back

Note 56: Nevertheless, it is significant that several founding members of early gay organizations, such as the Mattachine Society, were members or former members of the Communist Party; their experiences as Communists in theorizing and organizing against class and race oppression provided a framework for theorizing and organizing against their own oppression as gays in the 1950s. See, for example, the interview with Chuck Rowland in Eric Marcus, ed., Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945–1990: An Oral History (New York: HarperCollins, 1992), 26–36. On the Party's position on women and gender politics ("male chauvinism"), see Rosalyn Baxandall, "The Question Seldom Asked," in New Studies in the Politics and Culture of U.S. Communism, ed. Michael Brown et al. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1993), 141–162; Ellen Kay Trimberger, "Women in the Old and New Left," Feminist Studies 5:3 (Fall 1979): 432–461; and Robert Shaffer, "Women and the Communist Party, USA, 1930–1940," Socialist Review no. 45 (May-June 1979): 73–118. For the Communist Party's position on homosexuality, see Ann Snitow et al., "Introduction," in Snitow et al., eds., Powers of Desire, 19. back

Note 57: Scott to Editor, New York Herald Tribune, n.d. [mid-1950s], in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 58: Scott, typescript copy of "Some of My Worst Friends," n.d. [July 1947], in Scott Papers, AHC, pp. 1–2. This article was later published in Screen Writer (October 1947). back

Note 59: Scott to Earl Wilson, October 15, 1947, in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 60: Joseph Breen to William Gordon, July 17, 1945, in Crossfire Production File, Production Code Administration, AMPAS. back

Note 61: Gerald Gardner, The Censorship Papers: Movie Censorship Letters from the Hays Office, 1934–1968 (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1987), 207–211. Perhaps even more important than the moral bankruptcy detected by the Breen Office was the fact that The Brick Foxhole directly challenged the official vision of World War Two as "the good war." Though the novel was not presented to the OWI for review at this time, it clearly did not conform to the recommendations for the "correct" portrayal of the solidarity of the American people or the moral rectitude of military personnel. back

Note 62: Scott to William Dozier and Charles Koerner, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, B1-F2, AHC. back

Note 63: At this point, Scott earned a flat rate of $20,000 per picture and Dmytryk a flat rate of $23,400, while Paxton earned $150 a week. See, for example, Cornered Production Files, RKO Studio Collection, ALSC–UCLA. back

Note 64: Scott to William Dozier and Charles Koerner, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, B1-F2, AHC. back

Note 65: J. D. Marshall, "The Greeks Had Another Word for It, Meaning—Exaltation—John Paxton" [interview with Paxton], in J. D. Marshall, Blueprint in Babylon (Tempe, Ariz.: Phoenix House, 1978), 262. back

Note 66: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 324. back

Note 67: Scott to William Dozier and Charles Koerner, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, B1-F2, AHC. back

Note 68: Ibid. back

Note 69: RKO memo, Manny Wolfe to Joe Nolan, March 6, 1946, in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 70: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 325. back

Note 71: The two films scheduled for the Scott-Paxton-Dmytryk unit in 1946 were an adaptation of James Hilton's novel So Well Remembered, and Who Is My Love?, a "psychoanalytical subject" based on an original story by Ruth McKenney and Richard Bransten, a project that never materialized. See Virginia Wright, Los Angeles Daily News, March 28, 1946, in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. The following month, Wright devoted another entire column to the work of Scott and Paxton, focusing this time on the "backstory" of their friendship and creative partnership, tracing their Hollywood "success story" from its beginnings at Stage Magazine to the present. See Wright, Los Angeles Daily News, April 16, 1946, in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. back

Note 72: Myron Fagan, Red Treason in Hollywood (Hollywood: Cinema Educational Guild, Inc., 1949), 28. back

Note 73: Wright, Los Angeles Daily News, March 28, 1946. back

Note 74: Adrian Scott, typescript of "Some of My Worst Friends," in Scott Papers, AHC. 1. back

Note 75: Irwin Steinhart to Scott, March 28, 1946, in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 76: Scott, notes from telephone conversation with Flournoy, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 77: For a fuller discussion of So Well Remembered see my forthcoming article, "The Progressive Producer in the Studio System: Adrian Scott at RKO, 1943–1947," "Un-American" Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era, Frank Krutnik et al, eds. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007), pp. 152-168. back

Note 78: Marshall, "The Greeks Had Another Word" [interview with Paxton], 263. For a fuller discussion of the production of So Well Remembered, see Jennifer Langdon-Teclaw, "The Progressive Producer in the Studio System: Adrian Scott at RKO, 1943–1947" in "Un-American" Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era, Frank Krutnik et al, eds. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007), 152–168.back

Note 79: Unsigned typescript, n.d., in Scott Papers, AHC. Though this document is unsigned, internal evidence (including the deadpan humor) strongly suggests that the author was John Paxton. back

Note 80: Ray Neilson, "Edward Dmytryk and Crossfire," Classic Images 89 (November 1982): 30. back

Note 81: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 325–326. back

Note 82: Unsigned [Paxton] typescript, in Scott Papers, AHC; Marshall, "The Greeks Had Another Word" [interview with Paxton], 263. See also Paxton's notes on Ray Billington's The Protestant Crusade, 1800–1860 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1938), in Paxton Bio Files, AMPAS. back

Note 83: John Paxton to Keith Kelly and Clay Steinman, June 20, 1977, in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. This correspondence was part of the background research for Kelly and Steinman's article "Crossfire: A Dialectical Attack." back

Note 84: Paxton, interview with Larry Ceplair, June 29, 1977. back

Note 85: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 326; Dmytryk, It's a Hell of a Life, But Not a Bad Living (New York: Times Books, 1978), 89; Ray Neilsen, "Edward Dmytryk and Crossfire," Classic Images, November 1982, 30. back

Note 86: Paxton wrote four screenplay drafts between late December 1946 and the end of March 1947, including the first draft continuity, dated January 25, 1947; a revised continuity (now titled "Cradle of Fear"), dated February 12, 1947; and a version that was supposed to be final, dated February 19, 1947. Paxton and Scott continued to fine-tune this last draft, making changes and edits through March 30, after shooting had already begun. The "Final Script as Shot" is dated August 4, 1947. back

Note 87: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 326–327. back

Note 88: In addition, Scott may have known Schary personally. In the late 1930s and 1940s, Betsy Blair Reisz often took political speeches she had written to the writers at MGM for review. She remembers talking with both Scott and Schary at the MGM writers' building during this period. Reisz, interview with author, August, 1999. back

Note 89: Dore Schary, Heyday: An Autobiography (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979). back

Note 90: Ibid., 104–132. back

Note 91: Lester Friedman, in Hollywood's Image of the Jew (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1982), misattributes Mitchum's speech to Crossfire (p. 87). For an excellent discussion of The Best Years of Our Lives, see Gerber, "Heroes and Misfits," 545–574. back

Note 92: Schary, Heyday, 85–86, 101, 105–110; quote on page 101. back

Note 93: Interestingly, the first document in the FBI file on Schary is Hoover's response to a request from the Attorney General for information on Schary; the date on the document is November 13, 1947—approximately two weeks after the HUAC hearings in Washington. It is also quite interesting that while most of information in this document comes from "confidential informants," the FBI also relied on material from wiretaps of Communist Party headquarters and of director Joseph Losey. FBI Director to Attorney General, November 13, 1947, in Dore Schary FBI File. back

Note 94: Virginia Wright, Los Angeles Daily News, July 25, 1947, in Schary Papers, B127-F3, WHS. back

Note 95: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 237. back

Note 96: Paxton to Kelly and Steinman, n.d. [July 1977], in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. back

Note 97: Los Angeles Times, March 6, 1947, in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. back

Note 98: Schary, Heyday, 157. Roffman and Purdy describe 1947 as the "year of the Jewish film." In addition to the release of Crossfire, Body and Soul, and Gentleman's Agreement, three other films focused on Jewish issues were announced: Samuel Goldwyn was preparing Earth and High Heaven, a drama about a Jewish-Gentile marriage; MGM planned production of Sholem Asch's East River; and Arthur Miller's novel Focus was scheduled by the independent King Brothers. Though Earth and High Heaven, East River, and Focus were never made, Roffman and Purdy argue that the fact that they were announced and that Crossfire and Gentleman's Agreement were so successful "indicates the high level of audience receptivity to the theme of anti-Semitism in 1947." Roffman and Purdy, Hollywood Social Problem Film, 238. back

Note 99: For example, Paxton remembers that Schary was responsible for the film's final title. However, an interstudio memo indicates that an RKO script clerk (and a former serviceman, no less) named Ben Saeta came up with the title Crossfire and was paid $50 for his idea, "money he needed to care for his ill mother." RKO memo, Schary to J. J. Nolan, March 7, 1947, in Schary Papers, B126-F16, WHS. back

Note 100: "Preview Report: Crossfire," New York Times, July 6, 1947, in Crossfire Production File, AMPAS. back

Note 101: Mitchum was paid $15,000 and Ryan $10,000 for Crossfire. See Crossfire Budget Files, RKO Studio Collection, ALSC–UCLA; Robert Sklar, City Boys: Cagney, Bogart, Garfield (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1982). back

Note 102: Confidential notes from RKO producers' meeting, February 19, 1947, in Schary Papers, B112-F4, WHS; pencilled notes on front cover of first draft continuity, February 12, 1947, in Crossfire Script Files, Motion Picture Scripts Collection, UCLA; Vincent Curcio, Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Graham (New York: Morrow, 1989), 162. back

Note 103: Paxton to Kelly and Steinman, n.d. [June 1977], in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. back

Note 104: Scott, "You Can't Do That," 327. back

Note 105: "Odds & Ends on Crossfire," Rivoli Theater Program, July 22, 1947, in Scott Papers, AHC; McGilligan, "Interview with Richard Brooks," 41; clipping, no author, n.d., in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. back

Note 106: Paxton, Letter to the Editor, February 27, 1980, in Paxton Bio File, AMPAS. back

Note 107: Schary to Scott, March 4, 1947, in Scott Papers, AHC; Scott, "You Can't Do That," 327. back

Note 108: Marshall, "The Greeks Had Another Word" [interview with Paxton], 264. back

Note 109: Scott to Dozier and Koerner, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, B1-F2, AHC. back

Note 110: Ibid. Paxton's Biographical File at AMPAS includes some of their research on anti-Semitism, particularly notes from Billington's The Protestant Crusade. back

Note 111: On changing attitudes toward the Irish, see Leonard Dinnerstein and David M. Reimers, Ethnic Americans: A History of Immigration, 3d ed. (New York: Harper Collins, 1988), 147–151. back

Note 112: Scott to Dozier and Koerner, n.d. [1946], in Scott Papers, B1-F2, AHC. back

Note 113: Ibid. back

Note 114: Harold Melniker to John Paxton, March 1, 1947, in Scott Papers, AHC. back

Note 115: Joseph Breen to Harold Melniker, February 27, 1947; Melniker to Paxton, March 1, 1947, both in Crossfire Production File, AMPAS. back

Note 116: Crossfire production chronology, n.a., n.d., in Schary Papers, B126-F16, WHS. back

Note 117: See, for example, Foster Hirsch, The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir (1981; rpt. New York: Da Capo, 2001); Maureen Turim, Flashbacks in Film: Memory and History (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1989), especially chapter 5; and J. P. Telotte, Voices in the Dark: The Narrative Patterns of Film Noir (Urbana and Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1989). My analysis of narrative style in Crossfire was also sparked by Leonard Leff and Jerrold Simmons's article, "Film into Story: The Narrative Schema of Crossfire," Literature/Film Quarterly 12:3 (1984): 171–179. back

Note 118: William Graebner, The Age of Doubt: American Thought and Culture in the 1940s (Boston: Twayne, 1981), 54, 145. back

Note 119: Graebner, Age of Doubt, especially 147. back

Note 120: See especially Roffman and Purdy, The Hollywood Social Problem Film and Friedman, Hollywood's Image of the Jew. back

Note 121: Two excellent, though brief, analyses of Crossfire as a film noir are found in Naremore, More than Night, 114–123, and in Frank Krutnik, In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity (New York: Routledge, 1991), 209–210. back