With Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney, Walter Abel, Walter Brennan, Bruce Cabot, Frank Albertson
Directed by Fritz Lang
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     Fritz Lang's first American film, made shortly after he fled Nazi Germany, was a reasonably thought-provoking examination of mob violence, even if some of the situations seem contrived.  Spencer Tracy plays all-American good guy Joe Wilson, who is mistaken for a wanted murderer by the local authorities when he passes through a small town.  When the gossip spreads that a notorious killer is locked up in the town jail, the angry locals storm the prison, setting the building aflame and leaving Tracy for dead.  Tracy secretly escapes, however, and is soon enraged, obsessed, and near-mad in his determination to exact his revenge on the townsfolk.  If Frank Capra showed us that Americans have a basic instinct for goodness, Lang showed us that we were subject to more unpleasant instincts as well. 4 - JL

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