Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 26 May 2014
  • Boomerang!
Film title: Boomerang!
Director: Elia Kazan
Starring: Dana Andrews, Lee J. Cobb, Jane Wyatt, Arthur Kennedy, Ed Begley, Karl Malden
Release date: 26 May
Certificate: PG

Boomerang!, from 1947, is an early example of 'docu-noir' – a sub-genre in which facts from a real-life incident are used as framework for exploring film noir staples like violence and corruption. The street murder of a priest opens the film and sends shockwaves through the small Connecticut town of its setting. Police are pressured to issue swift justice, and all witnesses from that night identify an antsy out-of-towner and WWII vet as the gunman.

The authorities believe they have the right man, but Dana Andrews’ District Attorney starts to have doubts after meeting the accused in person, and ends up seeking to invalidate the evidence. Shot on location rather than studio sets (another characteristic of docu-noir), Elia Kazan's third feature is a confident affair, bolstered by a particularly strong supporting cast (Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden) that enriches the margins of this socially conscientious procedural, one that offers a gripping and only occasionally spotty critique of small-town America. [Josh Slater-Williams]

Released on DVD and Blu-ray in a dual format package by Eureka Entertainment, as part of the Masters of Cinema series