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The People Against O'Hara

The People Against O'Hara(1951)

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  • people against o'hara

    • kevin sellers
    • 6/20/15

    From the general lack of comments, critical or otherwise, both on Rotten Tomatoes and TCM, it's clear that the public does not particularly enjoy seeing Spencer Tracy play morally compromised individuals, and indeed he didn't often portray such characters. The only other movie that I can recall that shows Tracy in anything other than a heroic or lovable mode is "Edward My Son," which also bombed at the box office. Too bad, because this is a film worth watching. Tracy's unethical lawyer, Jim Courtaine, is truly a tragic figure. His greatness is his sense of responsibility for protecting the wrongly accused and this greatness leads to his flaw, bribing a witness to lie (which backfires on him) so that his client will go free, and that flaw causes his downfall, which is not only his death, but his shame as he delivers the eulogy of a lawyer greater than he. It isn't often that tragedy is credibly conveyed in a Hollywood film (or any film, for that matter) without a lot of pretentious speechifying, breast beating, and wallowing in self pity, but this film is one of those times. Credit a screenwriter I've never heard of named John Monks Jr. as well as Tracy's usual superb acting. And supporting Tracy are a group of fine actors, like Pat OBrian as Courtaine's old cop friend, John Hodiak as an ambitious but sympathetic DA, Diana Linn as Courtaine's loving daughter and William Campbell as an annoyingly smug and chatty witness slash hood. The general look of the film is more big city generic than noir (the usually brilliant John Alton kinda phoned it in, in my opinion) and director John Sturges' pacing could be faster, but otherwise this is an engrossing film. Give it an A minus. P.S. As the bribed witness, Jay C Flippen has the worst Swedish accent I've ever heard. Guess John Qualen wasn't available, yah?

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    • Alice
    • 10/30/12

    I so appreciate it when a viewer labels a film as "film noir". Over time, I have realized I like most of film noir films. My thanks to previous viewer. I would have missed this fine film. Thank you.A suggestion to TCM: I am a faithful TCM viewer, steadily loving this station even more as you group films into categories like, "Historical Disability...", "America Politics ...", "Star Day or Night", of course, "Star of the Month".Also , TCM, would you please consider a category labeled, "foreign films"? Love TCM; and love viewer comments. Several times, I have so loked forward to viewing a film, only to be disappointed to discover it is being shown as a "foreign film", being shown with sub-titles. I am aging and cannot read as fast as I used to. I apologize for the digression. Love you, TCM.

  • People Against O'Hara

    • Steve Livingstone
    • 11/15/10

    Spencer Tracy stars in this under rated and rarely shown film noir. The cast is great... John Alton's shadowy photography is brilliant. A great supporting cast elevates this crime drama to classic status. Don't miss it next time it comes on.

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