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OPEN SECRET (1948)

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Following in the footsteps of Crossfire (1947), this low-budget thriller combines film noir with social commentary on the evils of anti-Semitism. John Ireland stars as a World War II veteran who takes his new bride (Jane Randolph) to visit an old army buddy only to discover the friend is missing. As he looks into the case (with the help of sympathetic police detective Sheldon Leonard), he uncovers a nest of local bigots his friend had implicated in anti-Semitic crimes. Rare for the time, the film includes derogatory terms for foreigners and features an honest depiction of the impact of spousal abuse. Director John Reinhardt had mostly worked on Spanish-language musicals and comedies before the War. When he returned from the service, however, the Austrian refugee switched to low-budget films noir like this one. Working with cinematographer George Robinson, who had done such horror films as House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), Reinhardt creates an oppressive, shadowy atmosphere for this tale of dark doings in an unnamed town. The film was long thought to be lost and only available in dingy public-domain prints until it was restored by UCLA. If Herschel Burke Gilbert’s score sounds familiar, it should. It was recycled for the first season of TV’s Adventures of Superman with George Reeves. (d. John Reinhardt, 68m, 35mm)

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