Newlyweds Paul (John Ireland, Academy Award nominee for “All the King’s Men”) and Nancy (Jane Randolph) stop in a small town to visit Paul’s army buddy, Ed Stevens. Only Ed is missing, and no one seems eager to locate him. Paul is further perplexed by the white supremacist tracts he finds hidden in his pal’s apartment. An undeveloped roll of film leads to a vandalized Jewish-owned camera store and a gang of American Nazis taking over the town. A low-budget, hard-hitting cousin to “Crossfire” and “Gentleman’s Agreement,” which also broached the taboo subject of antisemitism by name, “Open Secret” is audacious for its time, depicting post-war antisemitism in a working-class setting, a Jewish character physically fighting back against his aggressors, and illustrating how prejudice can easily coalesce into an all-American strain of fascism.
Vienna-born John Reinhardt (“High Tide,” “Chicago Calling”) assuredly directs this crime drama written by Henry Blankfort, a screenwriter blacklisted during the McCarthy era, and Jewish film and TV writer Max Wilk. The film’s original marketing boasted the tag line: “THE PULL-NO-PUNCH DRAMA OF MEN CHAINED TOGETHER BY HATE!”
Director: John Reinhardt, USA, 1948, 68 minutes, English.
75th anniversary of this rarely seen film noir, screening in 35mm. Q&A with Brandeis University professor Thomas Doherty, author of “Hollywood & Hitler,” to follow the screening.
Preceded by “A Night in the Garden”: In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism, an event largely forgotten from American history. Marshall Curry’s Academy Award nominated film, which is made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and antisemitism in the United States.
Director: Marshall Curry, USA, 2017, 7 minutes, English.+ More... - Less...
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