Sunday, 20 January 2013

Boomerang! (1947)

Boomerang! Poster
Elia Kazan's Boomerang! is much more than a film-noir. It's a commentary on social existence, a riveting and entertaining drama and all-in-all a creative idea. 

What's so creative about Boomerang!? The film is based off a Reader's Digest article. The article itself, was based off a true story. This results in possibly the most realistic noir I have ever seen.

There is little to say about Boomerang!. It is among the least popular films by Elia Kazan and it's truly a difficult film to find. Still, I suggest giving it a viewing, since it strongly grows on you.

We are informed that the following film we will be watching is a true story. As much was shot on the location it took place on as possible. Its a casual night in a small Connecticut town. A beloved priest is crossing the street. Suddenly an arm reaches out an fires a bullet at him in public. People chase after the murder, but he manages to escape, leaving the priest dead. This leaves the entire town in a state of agitation, they demand action from the police.

All of the witness identify a man named John Waldron as the killer. Waldron is a quiet and nervous shop-owner who denies his crime. District Attorney Henry Harvey is put on the case and he slowly begins to believe Waldron's innocence. By believing Waldron's story, Harvey elicits prejudice from the rest of the small town.

It's hard to put my finger right on Boomerang!. On one hand, we have a unique idea for a film-noir that executes realism and avoids all typical cliches associated with the genre. But on the other hand we have a story that only works because its true. Let me elaborate.

Boomerang! takes a story about human justice in the society. My best guess is Kazan read the article and thought it was an inspiring story of persistence and justice. So the screenplay is written and the film is made.

In watching the film, it doesn't seem real. It seems as if Kazan failed to nail realistic human nature. My theory is that Kazan forgot he was making a film. Saying "the following is a true story" is not enough to allow us to expand our disbelief.

Just on a side not, I enjoyed the way the camera would zoom into a headline. It was a great shot and it did a good job tying into the media aspects in the film.

Boomerang! is good film, but sadly it's attention was diverted to one aspect and other parts were rather shallow.

Directed by Elia Kazan
Starring: Dana Andrews, Lee J. Cobb and Jane Wyatt
7/10 (B-)

1. Panic in the Steets
2. Splendor in the Grass
3. Boomerang!

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