Josh Olson on

Act of Violence

Released 1948
Distributor MGM

Moviegoers seeking easy answers should steer clear of Fred Zinneman’s hardboiled thriller from 1948, ACT OF VIOLENCE. Zinneman uses the then recent horrors of World War II as the springboard for this complex morality play starring Van Heflin and Robert Ryan as two ex-POWs whose shared humanity has been corrupted by the Nazi prison camps. Just how corrupt they are is the subject of Robert Richards’ screenplay (from the story by Collier Young). The cast, including Janet Leigh and Phyllis Thaxter, is interesting from top to bottom and features a vivid turn from Mary Astor as a prostitute who gives Heflin shelter.

About Josh Olson

Josh Olson  was the only student in his second grade class to see The House That Dripped Blood.  Many years later, he wrote and directed the no-budget horror film, Infested, a brutal assault on The Big Chill, with zombies. He went on to write the screenplay for A History of Violence and was nominated for the WGA, BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. He kept losing to Larry McMurtry, but that’s okay.  He co-wrote the teleplay for the Masters of Science Fiction episode, The Discarded, with Harlan Ellison, and is currently writing a sophisticated thriller, Tabloid, for Mick Jagger.