A perfect accompaniment to the news this week regarding the smugly self-justified crimes of my government. Spencer Tracy, an innocent man, is mistaken for a criminal and lynched by a small town mob. Almost immediately, the townspeople start professing to each other their regrets about the incident, but they’re not at all interested in getting to the bottom of it and holding the organizers accountable. Such a reckoning would be too destabilizing, they say. Best to just forget it and keep walking.
No accident that this was the first movie Lang made upon safe arrival in Hollywood. The intensity of his need to believe in the possibility of justice burns every frame. I’m glad he’s not here to see that justice remains so difficult to come by.
There are things I don’t want to give away as spoilers, but let me just note: Film itself is in some crucial ways the hero of this movie.
This just in: Spencer Tracy’s dog is played by Terry!