Director: Cy Endfield
Year Released: 1950
A family man (Frank Lovejoy), who is unemployed and can't provide for his wife and son, teams up with a shifty criminal (Lloyd Bridges) to rob various locations; their spree ends up with them engaging in the kidnapping and murder of a socialite. Despite the B-movie trappings (the acting isn't always up-to-par), this is an intriguing condemnation of the mass media (embodied by journalist Gil, played by Richard Carlson) and herd mentality, which leads disgruntled, disgusted citizens to storm the jail Lovejoy and Bridges are in and lynch them. The jail-storming scene is, to my eyes, a bit extreme (though based in a real-life incident), but it makes its point: words are powerful enough to incite the masses, and justice is better left in the courts than in the hands of the frenzied populace bent on vengeance. It doesn't surprise me that some of the first rioters to break into the courthouse are a bunch of frat-type college guys: those dudes are always up for a good ol' anti-authoritarian thrashing.