All My Sons (1948)

Posted By: Someonelse
All My Sons (1948)

All My Sons (1948)
DVD5 | VIDEO_TS | PAL 4:3 | Cover | 01:24:03 | 4,13 Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 224 Kbps | Subtitles: French
Genre: Drama

Director: Irving Reis

All My Sons tells the story of Joe Keller, a successful, middle-aged, self-made man who has done a terrible and tragic thing. He framed his business partner for a crime and engineered his own exoneration. Now, his son is about to marry the partner's daughter, the affair is revisited, and his lie of a life is unraveled.

IMDB

Although the biting political statements of Arthur Miller's stage drama All My Sons were drastically toned down in adapting it to the screen, the 1948 film version still delivers a powerful punch with its story of a family torn apart by the realization of the father's war profiteering, an act that directly resulted in the deaths of many young soldiers and, in a more indirect way, the death of his own son. Miller's play, which ran on Broadway for 328 performances for most of 1947, won Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Direction (Elia Kazan) as well as the New York Critics Circle Award. It starred Ed Begley as Joe Keller, the corrupt manufacturer of vital military parts, and Arthur Kennedy as his embittered surviving son. It was brought to the screen with veteran actor Edward G. Robinson as Keller and, as his son, Burt Lancaster, who in two short years since his film debut in The Killers (1946) had already established himself as a forceful dramatic presence.

All My Sons (1948)

The cast wasn't all that changed in the adaptation. Miller's play used the personal family tragedy as an indictment of capitalism, insisting that a socio-economic structure that could tolerate such greed and corruption was seriously flawed. Knowing this, the FBI and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, which had already begun its purge of those they considered Hollywood communists and sympathizers, watched the production very closely. In the middle of filming during the fall of 1947, an informant supplied the FBI with the movie's script.

All My Sons (1948)

Producer/screenwriter Chester Erskine had already shifted the focus of Miller's story away from criticisms of the American system to a narrower drama about the greed of one solitary man. Nevertheless, the FBI, piggybacking on an inflammatory Newsweek article stating the politically liberal Robinson was "persistently found in Communist fronts," issued an internal report that found All My Sons's "open attack" on the family to be "sickening" and blatantly collectivist, according to Lancaster biographer Kate Buford. Around the same time, a group of film professionals calling themselves the Committee for the First Amendment gathered more than 300 signatures on a petition printed in the Hollywood Reporter labeling the HUAC hearings "morally wrong" and "contrary to the basic principles of our democracy." It was signed by Lancaster, Robinson and many of the cast and crew of All My Sons.

All My Sons (1948)

When the picture was released, New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther, in a generally glowing review, noted the alterations made between the stage and screen version by Erskine, operating, Crowther noted, "no doubt, on higher instructions." The New Republic, then still a left-leaning publication, said that the director, Irving Reis, and the studio (Universal) deserved "a citation for unusual heroism under fire" for producing and distributing the picture "in the present state of political weather."

All My Sons (1948)

All My Sons falls roughly in the middle of Russell Metty's long and distinguished career as one of Hollywood's most outstanding cinematographers. It came nearly a dozen years after his work on Howard Hawks' classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938) and twelve years before his Oscar®-winning cinematography on Spartacus (1960). He brought to this production his mastery of black-and-white light and shadow, which he had just used so effectively in Orson Welles' The Stranger (1946). Later in his career, he provided the stunning Technicolor look for Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Written on the Wind (1956) before returning to the stark chiaroscuro of Touch of Evil (1958), his second collaboration with Welles.

All My Sons (1948)

All My Sons is the first Arthur Miller work to be made into a movie. It was remade for TV in 1955 and again in 1986 starring James Whitmore and Aidan Quinn in the Robinson and Lancaster roles-a version far more faithful to the tone and intent of the original. Miller's plays The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, and The Prize have also been made into feature films and television dramas numerous times, and he also wrote scripts directly for the screen, most notably The Misfits (1961), which starred Miller's wife, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Montgomery Clift.
All My Sons (1948)

Since this movie had no particular reputation, I expected a somewhat ho-hum adaptation of Arthur Miller's play. In fact, the movie somewhat improves on the play. It's not afraid to be a little more "superficial" than the play, opting less for profundity than for solid melodrama, and I do mean solid. Robinson is superb, but the real surprise for me was the unshowy, very subtle (for him) performance by Lancaster, never a favorite of mine in his latter-day, hammy period. Here he seems content to be an ensemble player, supporting Robinson and playing a relatively quiet, Gary Cooper sort of role, and therefore he comes off more of a genuine star than usual. When he does finally explode in physical violence, the effect is truly shocking.
IMDB Reviewer
All My Sons (1948)

Special Features: None

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