Movie Diary 3/13/2023

Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1948). The recently restored print looks very, very good. Rat-a-tat rhythm, wonderful sideways dialogue, and a relentless focus on money as a destructive element. John Garfield has a distinctive physical presence (and he’s in motion through most of the thing) but also a memorable, brandy-toned voice. The scene where Garfield learns that his office phone is tapped is curiously forceful – as though Polonsky uncorked some reserve of paranoia in the air – and of course Polonsky would soon be blacklisted, not directing another feature until 1969.