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Additional resources for Elia Kazan: The Cinema of an American Outsider
He also referred to cutting ‘enormous hunks’ out of a number of long speeches, especially those of Blanche. In a letter that is revealing about his aspirations and notion of filmmaking, Kazan reported to Warner that ‘Now I’m down to beating the typewriter myself, which is the way Movies are made’. On the ‘rape thing’ he added that ‘I’ve got sight of a real solution’. This crucial scene was due to be shot in the first week of October, and Jack Vizzard, who had joined the Production Code Administration (PCA) after leaving a Jesuit seminary, phoned the studio that week to try and find out what solution, if any, had been found.
While RKO had released Crossfire (1947) before Gentleman’s Agreement (1948) opened, it was the prestigious Fox film, dealing with anti-Semitism in terms of middle-class evasions, silences and conspiracies, that was seen as especially daring, and that was most successful at the box office and at the following year’s Academy Awards ceremony. The script, written by Moss Hart from Laura Z. Hobson’s bestselling novel, makes several references to ‘crackpot’ approaches to anti-Semitism in which the main source of the prejudice is seen as a disturbed if not psychotic individual, like the returning veteran played by Robert Ryan in Crossfire.
13 Boomerang! begins with a 360 degree panorama of the centre of Stamford, Connecticut, and with a narration that reflects on Bridgetown, a supposedly typical American town. Kazan keeps the story moving quickly, as we see the reaction of local townspeople to the murder of a well-liked local clergyman. There is growing pressure on Chief of Police ‘Robby’ Robinson (Lee J. Cobb) to find the murderer, not least from the Reform Administration and rival machine politicians, both with an eye on their prospects in the forthcoming election.