discovering cy endfield. . .

with jonathan rosenbaum

Endfield’s last three American pictures were The Underworld Story (1950), Try and Get Me! (also known as The Sound of Fury, 1951), and Tarzan’s Savage Fury (1952), released after Endfield had left this country. The first two are remarkable noir efforts that will be shown together at the Film Center on July 17; Try and Get Me! — to my mind a masterpiece of the early 50s — will be shown again on July 30. Both are central to Endfield’s Hollywood reputation, and suggest what he might have achieved had he been able to continue working here. But in 1951 he was declared a former communist by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, and required to furnish the names of former comrades if he was to be allowed to remain in the film industry. Instead he bought a one-way ticket on the Queen Mary; as he put it in his recent letter to Film Comment, “The political enthusiasms attributed to me were already years and years dead, but the sole option of informing still repellent.” Essentially he took the same route as John Berry, Jules Dassin, and Joseph Losey by moving to Europe.

this is what i find most valuable about rosenbaum, the unearthings of directors like hou hsiao hsien, edward yang, and phil karlson.


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