19 April 2010 | Spikeopath
Crime Wave In Santa Sierra.
Howard Tyler (Frank Lovejoy) is a good honest family man living in California who just can't catch a break. Struggling financially and upset that he can't support his family, he falls in with small time hoodlum Jerry Slocum (Lloyd Bridges) who convinces him to join him in robbing gas stations. However, things start to get out of control as they kidnap the son of a wealthy family to hold for ransom. But what follows will have far reaching consequences for all involved...
Also known as Try And Get Me, The Sound Of Fury is directed by Cy Endfield and is based on the novel The Condemned by Jo Pagano (who along with Endfield also writes the screenplay here). The story is incredibly based on a factual episode known as the Brooke Hart case that occurred in 1933 in San Jose, California. Fritz Lang's 1936 film Fury was also loosely based on the same story, which probably explains why Endfield's film had a name change to Try And Get Me.
A brilliant crime thriller, the film is a damming indictment of uncontrolled violence in small town Americana. Its themes involving class divides, the uncivilization and ignorance of some Americans, moral and social collapse and the irresponsibility's of the press, are all rammed home with force by the soon to be blacklisted director. By definition, Endfield and Pagano have crafted the ultimate social conscious movie. Filling it with relevance that will last the ages, the undervalued Endfield also come up trumps in mood setting and visual flourishes. This be prime film noir too. Tumbling pebbles, a crime shown in reflection, our protagonist standing in the dark ruefully looking out a window, a complete night club sequence shot off kilter, all indelible images that linger long in the memory (Guy Roe on photography). Then there's the finale, a brutal and shocking ending that had Raymond Borde & Etienne Chaumenton (A Panorama Of American Film Noir 1941-1953) proclaiming it to be one of the most brutal sequences in postwar American cinema. They aren't exaggerating, it is, and it caps off a stunning movie.
There can be a reasonable argument put forward that the film asks for pity towards the hoodlums of the piece. But that's a confliction that serves as a call for a deeper thought process with the film. The makers are merely adding drips of fuel to an already incendiary device. Hugo Friedhofer provides the music and Kathleen Ryan, Richard Carlson & Katherine Locke fill out the support cast. However, this is Bridges' movie, Lovejoy is excellent as the increasingly fretful Tyler, but Bridges goes from smarm to charm with ease and then to crazy psychotic in the blink of an eye, an unnerving character given the treatment by the big man. Still awaiting a DVD release, any chance you get to see this film you should grab with both hands. Powerful, intelligent stuff. 9/10