The Undercover Man

Screening on Film
Directed by Joseph H.
With Glenn Ford, Nina Foch, James Whitmore.
US, 1949, 35mm, black & white, 85 min.
Print source: Sony Pictures

Rossen returned to the criminal underworld with this revisionist view of organized crime from the perspective of law enforcement. Made during a brief vogue for police procedural films, The Undercover Man is unusual for its exploration of the human side rather than the totalizing institutional vision offered in popular postwar films such as The Naked City and T-Men. The story of a hard-working accountant hired to find a chink in the armor of an untouchable mobster's vast financial operation, the film focuses with fascinating detail on the daily toil of the unsung and underpaid agents who work in cramped back rooms, their time measured in sweat stained undershirts and pencil stubs. Glenn Ford stars as another version of the Fifties’ Everyman pushed too far, here strained by the invincible menace of the mob and by his forced separation from his comely, understanding wife played by Nina Foch.

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The Bodies and Souls of Robert Rossen

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