The names are changed and updated, the story takes place post World War II instead of World War I. But Boomerang is the story of how the man who eventually became United States Attorney General, Homer Cummings, used his prosecutorial office to prove the INNOCENCE of an arrested murder suspect. How often do you see that happen?In fact Boomerang is a primer for those people who wonder how the Supreme Court under Earl Warren could render such decisions as Escobedo and Miranda which set a few ground rules about interrogating a suspect. Today poor Arthur Kennedy who plays the veteran accused of <more>
murdering a priest in cold blood might have lawyered up and never given the confession in the first place.Under a different name Cummings is played by Dana Andrews with Jane Wyatt as his wife. Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden play the investigating police detectives who do a thorough job and apparently have gotten their man. What the crime consisted of was person unknown in the evening hours on one of the town's main streets firing a pistol into the back of the head of a popular clergyman in the town. Several witnesses do see it, but none are close enough to really be sure.One witness nearly sinks Kennedy, but when Andrews questions Kennedy before the trial and he tells her that waitress Cara Williams is mad because he dumped her, that sets Andrews thinking about his case. His examination of her on the stand is devastating.The film was directed by Elia Kazan who got the New York Film Critic's Award for this and his work on Gentleman's Agreement. This was a banner year obviously for Mr. Kazan. Boomerang got one Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay for Richard Murphy.After over 60 years Boomerang holds up very well and should be required viewing for those attorneys who wish to become prosecutors. It ain't all about another notch in the belt.
They don't make movies like this anymore and that is a crying shame. (by Bosco-4)
Is there any chance that this movie will be put out on DVD? Several years ago Boomerang was advertised in the Critics Choice video catalog but when I called their number to order it, they told me it had been immediately pulled from the catalog. I haven't heard a thing about it since. This is a great film and should be released. The cast was uniformly excellent including a young Arthur Kennedy, Karl Malden, Lee. J. Cobb and Sam Levine. The dialogue was taut and the pace didn't slow down at all. There are few films that can put you on the edge of your seat and keep you there from start <more>
to finish. Dana Andrews has been in many very good films and Boomerang was one of them. Is there anyone I can write to about getting Boomerang released on DVD?
One of the best true crime dramas ever made (by sultana-1)
This one is something special. Based on a true story, it shows courage in the face of pressure, the problems with relying on eyewitness testimony, and many other complex facets that enter into criminal investigations. In many ways, this is an excellent companion piece for The Wrong Man.
Connections to Death of a Salesman -- Elia Kazan, Lee J. Cobb, and Arthur Kennedy (by kanes1524)
Boomerang! 1947 has a number of interesting connections to Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman on Broadway. Elia Kazan, Boomerang!'s director, also directed Miller's All My Sons on Broadway the same year the film was released.Less than two years after Boomerang!, Kazan began casting and directing Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, which began rehearsals in the fall of 1948 and opened on Broadway on February 10, 1949. Death of a Salesman was written in the spring of 1948, and Kazan was on board to direct it soon after.1949's Death of a Salesman on <more>
Broadway starred Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman and Arthur Kennedy as his son, Biff. In Boomerang! 1947 , Lee Cobb portrays Chief Robinson and Arthur Kennedy plays the murder suspect, John Waldron.Of course, Arthur Miller also makes his film "debut" in Boomerang! He's the line-up suspect who towers over the policeman. Don't blink or you'll miss him. Miller would not "act" in a film again until 1974, in a film titled The Rehearsal.Interestingly, Miller originally wrote the part of Willy Loman as a small man, a la Dustin Hoffman, not a hulking one like Lee J. Cobb, or, more recently, Brian Dennehy. So Kazan opted to cast Lee Cobb in Death of a Salesman based on his work with the actor on Boomerang!, and against Miller's original conception of Willy Loman. At one point in the play/movie, for example, Willy tells his wife about a buyer who slandered him. In the original version, Miller wrote the slur as "shrimp." After Kazan cast Lee J. Cobb in the play, the put-down was changed to "walrus."
This film has a great point to make....one we should remember today. (by MartinHafer)
"Boomerang!" features an exceptional cast of actors who might not be pretty but who really knew their craft. Think about it...Dana Andrews, Ed Begley, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Arthur Kennedy and Robert Keith all in one film. You can't help but enjoy watching the film simply so you can get a chance to watch these wonderful but generally unheralded actors exercise their craft. And, with Elia Kazan directing, you can't help but expect excellence.The film begins with a seemingly senseless murder. A beloved priest is shot in the back of the head, execution-style, on the street <more>
of a Connecticut town. The killer, dressed in a trench coat and hat, manages to get away and the town is clamoring for the police to catch him. In fact, the local paper pushes hard, very hard, for the police to act. And, as a result, it seems that the authorities try too hard to catch someone...anyone. The man they eventually catch Arthur Kennedy does give an inconsistent story but there really isn't much to connect him to the murder other than several eyewitnesses.When the District Attorney Dana Andrews gets the case, something bothers him. While everyone around him seems pleased about the arrest, he can't get past the fact that the evidence is tenuous--very tenuous. In fact, instead of prosecuting the case as you'd expect, Andrews manages to systematically prove the eyewitnesses were not the least bit reliable. They, too, were in a rush to judgment or had personal reasons to say Kennedy was the killer. And, following his impeachment of the witnesses, he is able to tear apart his own case--proving the defendant could not have been the assailant. While the idea of a prosecuting attorney working hard in court to DISPROVE his case sounds insane, it is supposedly based on a real case. And it also proves just how horrible eyewitness accounts can be--often VERY unreliable and subject to lots of human error. It has a great point to make AND is quite entertaining and well constructed. Well worth seeing.
The first thing that impressed me about this - I saw it earlier today on TV- was how well it stands up after exactly 50 years. Whichever way you look at it 1947 was something of a bumper year for Gadg; he directed both Arthur Miller's All My Sons and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway and as if that weren't enough he shot Sea Of Grass, Gentlemen's Agreement and Boomerang all in one year. One could b forgiven for thinking that Gadg had something of a Repertory company going; Arthur Kennedy, cast as the innocent suspect John Waldron here, was playing Chris <more>
Keller in All My Sons and would play Biff Loman two years later in Death Of A Salesman, also directed by Gadg, whilst the original Willy Loman Lee J. Cobb who had acted with Gadg in the Group Theatre on Broadway was cast here as the Chief of Detectives and Karl Malden, the original Mitch in Streetcar a role he would repeat and again under Gadgs' direction in the film version played a detective. This semi-documentary benefits from strong performances right across the board and even Jane Wyatt in the somewhat thankless role of devoted wife brings lustre to the part. From lead actor Dana Andrews through those already mentioned to Ed Begley as a corrupt businessman the cast turn in some fine ensemble acting and this is one I'd definitely buy on DVD.
Elia Kazan's 1947 docudrama Boomerang dramatizes the courage and independence of a Connecticut States Attorney who stood up to political pressure and fought for dismissal of charges against a defendant accused of murder because he wasn't convinced of his guilt. The film which I first saw as a boy is based on an actual killing that took place in 1924 in which a popular parish priest was shot on a main street in Bridgeport, Connecticut in full public view. In spite of the public nature of the killing, the murderer escaped and no suspects were immediately apprehended. Using an unseen <more>
narrator to provide background information, the film achieves a hard-hitting realism, conveying the feeling that you are watching events as they unfold.Produced by Louis de Rochemont, well known for films dramatizing real events such as "House on 92nd Street" and "13 Rue Madeline", performances are uniformly excellent, particularly those of Dana Andrews as Henry Harvey, the idealistic States Attorney, Lee J. Cobb as Police Chief Robbie Robinson, Arthur Kennedy as John Waldron, the ex-GI murder suspect, and Ed Begley as the corrupt Commissioner Paul Harris. The film stays fairly close to actual events with the exception that the States Attorney is shown as an unknown lawyer looking to make a name for himself not the nationally known former Mayor and candidate for US Senate.Boomerang begins with a description of the crime and then in a flashback shows the priest asking his assistant to get help for his unstated problems and threatening to have him confined in a hospital. This thread is left hanging but Kazan tantalizes the viewer, suggesting without offering any evidence that the troubled assistant had a motive to kill the priest. When the investigation stalls, pressure is put on the police to come up with a suspect and Dave Woods Sam Levene , a local newspaper reporter, runs a series of stories criticizing the City government for its inaction in hopes of achieving political power for the paper's owner.After innocent people are arrested simply because they wore clothing that resembled what the killer is alleged to have worn the night of the murder, a disheveled veteran, John Waldron Arthur Kennedy , is arrested in Ohio in possession of a handgun and returned to Connecticut. Several eyewitnesses pick out Waldron as the killer and the bullet is identified as coming from Waldron's gun. When Police Chief Robinson Lee J. Cobb , finally extracts a confession after grilling Waldron for many hours, the case seems open and shut.At the preliminary hearing, however, Harvey is guided by the legal code of ethics that the prosecutor's job is not to gain convictions but to see that justice is done and has doubts about the evidence, arguing against a conviction. Most of the film's dramatic moments take place in the courtroom but there is a back story involving municipal corruption, a theme that Kazan would visit again ten years later in "A Face in the Crowd".The shocking turnaround by the States Attorney does not sit well with party official Paul Harris Ed Begley who invested his savings in a corrupt land deal and needs the present government to remain in power to buy that land from him. Fearing economic ruin, he threatens Harvey and insists the prosecutor try to convict Waldron whether or not he is innocent. The prosecutor remains steadfast, however, and the intense courtroom drama keeps us riveted until the surprising outcome is revealed.
Tense, taut and terrific in semi-documentary style... (by Doylenf)
The young ARTHUR KENNEDY was one of our best dramatic actors and proves it in BOOMERANG! by giving a realistic punch to his performance as an innocent man caught in a murder trap. The only man who can save him is attorney DANA ANDREWS, who does a fine job of pointing out weaknesses in the case and destroying the false witnesses.One of the best of its kind, it's done in brisk, documentary style popular in the early forties. Well worth viewing, beautifully directed and acted by a fine cast.Jane Wyatt does a nice job, as does Ed Begley and Sam Levene. Based on a true incident, the murder of <more>
a popular parish priest in Connecticut, the film is powerful in its demonstration of our justice system and how it sometimes works, but sometimes fails because of behind the scenes dishonesty related to political shenanigans.
***SPOILERS*** Based on a Richard Oursler article in Readers Digest about the real life murder of popular Catholic priest Father George A. Lambert, Wyrley Brich, Eli Kazan's "Boomerang!" doesn't go into who murdered Father Lambert, the killer was ever apprehended, but in the story of the Innocent man accused of killing him ex-GI and town drifter John Waldron, Arthur Kennedy. With the murder investigation of Father Lambert going nowhere the local Stamford political machine, run by power-broker T.M Wade Taylor Holmes , goes full-blast in attacking the city administration of <more>
reform Mayor Swayze, Walter Greaza,in hopes of getting it's man elected mayor. The murder of Father Lambert turns out to be a political football between the two warring political parties instead of a police affair and investigation. After Waldron is arrested in Ohio and sent back to Conn. to stand trial State Prosecutor Henry Harvey, Dana Andrews, is put on the case. Waldron mentally pounded for three straight days by the police not allowing him to sleep breaks down and confesses to the Lambart murder making his conviction a forgone conclusion. As prosecutor Harvey looks closely at the evidence against Waldon he realizes that the man may very well be innocent. If convicted he'll, Harvey, have to live for the rest of his with the thought that he sent a innocent man to his death. Harvey later finds out that a lot is riding on Waldon's conviction and it has nothing to do with the murder of Father Lambart. A non-conviction will effect the re-election chances of Mayor Swayze. Harvey is also running the risk of destroying a promising political career in state politics, he's already being groomed to be the states governor, by getting Waldon off even if he's innocent. Well paced and honest film about big city politics with a stellar performance by Dana Andrews who didn't let his career ambitions get in the way of his sense of justice. Also in "Boomerang!" is Jane Wyatt as Prosecutor Harvey's wife Madge. Madge was tricked into an under-the-table deal by the city's Commissioner of Public Works Mac McCreery, Ed Begley, McCreery was terrified that if Mayor Swayze didn't get re-elected and agree, as he promised him, to have the city of Stamford buy his real-estate property it would in the and financially ruin McCreery and possibly land Madge behind bars. Powerful ending sequence in a Stamford courtroom that has all the drama and tension of that of a very good fictitious movie screenplay but in this case all that happened in the movie also happened in real life.