Brooding shadows, a murder mystery, a sultry blonde, and a fatalistic sense of an inevitably disconsolate outcome give Crossfire the film noir credibility claimed for it by reviewers, but especially by contemporary marketers of home video DVD and BluRay discs, looking for a way to dress up the merchandise.
Crossfire doesn’t really need to be dressed up like a cheap streetwalker. It has significant appeal in its own right, albeit not as the film noir I think it is despite itself.
Strong performances are delivered by Robert Ryan as the fearful Montgomery, Robert Mitchum as the reliably cynical anti-hero Keeley, and Robert Young as the disconsolate homicide detective Finlay. Gloria Grahame as the even more sad and embittered dance-hall girl, Ginny, was nominated for an Academy Award despite, or maybe because of, representing the unpalatable truth about how a generation of such women got by.
These performances, and the positive contemporary reviews it attracted, went a long way to earn the film a reputation rising far above its $500,000 B movie status. But there was far more below that surface.