Robert Mitchum, Robert Young, Robert Ryan - Oh, My!
"Crossfire" is a film gem directed by Edward Dmytryk, who was later blacklisted as a communist sympathizer. He garnered intense performances from all the actors, especially Robert Ryan. Dmytryk also knew how to create striking film noir in all its smoke laden, deep shadowed glory.
Robert Young investigates the murder of a man beaten to death. Young learns three soldiers stopped by the victim's apartment to listen to jazz and have drinks earlier that evening. As Young retraces the victim's steps, he questions Mitchum, who dodges every straight answer to protect one of the soldiers, who's a friend of his.
Mitchum, realizing circumstantial evidence points to his friend, does his own snooping. Ryan gives as many versions of the evening as suits his purposes. His character is so oily you may need to wash your hands after watching. As the lies mount, so does the tension. Young has a corpse, but no motive. Mitchum believes his friend is innocent, but his alibi is shaky. "Crossfire" is a thinking man's thriller. It delivers the message one should never make assumptions - about the killer or the victim.