Josh Olson on

Act of Violence

Released 1949
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.

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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 and Diana Ossana, but that’s okay. He has written features and TV shows with Harlan Ellison, Walter Hill, Slash, Willie Nelson, and Mick Jagger. His Village Voice essay “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script” became an internet phenomenon, getting upwards of five million hits. The ten-part audio drama Bronzeville which he wrote, starring Laurence Fishburne, Larenz Tate, Tracee Ellis Ross, Omari Harwicke and Tika Sumpter was a popular and critical hit, and is currently being developed for TV. He and John Brancato (The Game) recently wrote and sold the feature spec Trigger Warning, which is being produced by Thunder Road. Josh is the host of Trailers From Hell's official podcast, The Movies That Made Me, available everywhere podcasts are streamed and downloaded!