THEY WON’T FORGET ( 1937 )

CAUGHT IN THE CROSS HAIR:

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXI )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XX )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXV )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXX IX )    THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXX )
“I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it! I DIDN’T DO IT!”

     THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXX I )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXX IIA )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXX II )

These two men are about to be caught in the crosshairs of fear and disbelief. We have the janitor Tump Redwine ( Clinton Rosemund ) who reports the murder and knows that, if history is any judge, he could be blamed for killing Mary Clay. He’ll do and say anything to save his neck; even implicate someone else. We also have a young Northern couple: Edward Norris and Gloria DicksonTHEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXX III ) face circumstantial evidence against him for the young girl’s murder. They never fit in in the town and it dawns on them both that their life is about to go from bad to worse. A bit obscured but the first shot below left, is an overhead shot of Janitor Redwine being third-degree’d “questioned” that was excised from the film when it played in Maryland.

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXVI (THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX VIII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX IX )

  THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXX ) THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXX I )

DICKSON: “They can’t convict you. You’re
innocent.” 

NORRIS:   “That won’t make any difference to
 them.”

* * * * * * * * *

POLITICS / THE LAW:

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX V )

If CLAUDE RAINS wants to recite the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address or read aloud Julia Childs’ cookbook, I would sit at his feet in rapt attention. He’s good in all he does. Here he’s rather loose-y goose-y if you know what I mean. He does a fantastic job, except he’s galling. As a politician, he should KNOW
THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXVII )better. He’s elected by the people, for the people. He’s out for himself. He’s working AGAINST the people and against justice. He’s the Prosecutor and needs a big break to propel his political ambition. With the death of Mary Clay, getting this conviction would be a stepping stone to a bigger career as Senator. Now you’d think he’d want to convict the right person, right? Ha! Silly me. And silly you if you believe in ethics.

“Applause means votes.”

I don’t think Rains really believes our hero is guilty. But he needs that conviction.

 THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXIX )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXVIII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXX IV )
 THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX VII )
A wife’s plea to do the right thing is no match for a politician’s naked ambition.

The Prosecutor sends out his detectives to investigate for evidence. But these detectives seem more like strong arm henchmen to me. So many laws are broken in the effort to get a conviction. Suspects are questioned without benefit of an attorney, no bail set, witnesses are intimidated, premises are checked without a warrant. Warrant? WARRANT?!! They don’ need no steenking warrants. Conducting the law this way gets you all the circumstantial evidence a Prosecuting Attorney needs.

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XIX )
They’ve made their bed. For these business men, it’s too late to turn back now. 

So on the flimsiest evidence, Rains is ready to indict and go to trial. Initially all of this publicity was good for business – for merchants and attorneys alike. Great publicity. ( Think “Ace in the Hole” ).  But as events play out and start snowballing, Rains tries to sidestep any blame in all this. Oh no mon frere, you’re in deep up to your keister in railroading. And when some of the businesses in town start to feel the pinch of notoriety and heat of the spotlight, they want to back out, but Rains won’t let them. He handcuffs, ties their hands to his.  Let the theatrics begin:

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX III )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX IIII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX VI )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX V )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX IV )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX VI )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX III )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XIII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XX )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XIV )Witnesses and jury are threatened and suborned

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX VII ) THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XI ) THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX X ) THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XXII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX I )
Newspaper rivals Allyn Joslyn and Frank Faylen, stoking the fire…feeding the beast.

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX ) THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX IX )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX VIII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXXXXXX VII )THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XX III )

It’s great how LeRoy sets this all up. At the start of the movie we see how the young teacher explains all his actions to his wife. Innocent enough. But later on in the movie as we go to trial, those very same actions take on a different  hue. We now have courtroom antics worthy of Clarence Darrow or Johnny Cochrane. It’s the trial of the century. And Rains is up for it. There’s a built-in bias of the court, over-ruling valid objections, dueling mothers, sensational testimony; practically, if the dress  is ripped…you must acquit!

THEY WON'T FORGET ( XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX ) 

“They Won’t Forget.” Not the accused young teacher, nor the attorneys, nor the poor janitor who doesn’t want that rope noosed around his neck. No one will forget. You be the judge. Do they have the right man? Frankly, my dear, they don’t give a damn.

(  H O M E  )

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4 thoughts on “THEY WON’T FORGET ( 1937 )

    • I’m with you there Caftan Woman. When that train car door opens and those men are waiting for Hale, my heart stopped; like dropped from a great height. I think the movie is STILL relevant today. Gloria Dickson was very effective in this film. I’m not sure what stalled her career from getting more meaty “A” list parts. She puts me to mind of Claire Trevor or Glenda Farrell. Dickson’s life was cut short at 28, when she died in a fire. Thanks for reading my post. It’s a depressing but important picture.

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  1. It is as if you were in my head! My feelings – about the Clay brothers and that mob, the newspaper guy, make me so uncomfortable that at times, I have avoided watching the movie. It is chilling! (I have the same reaction to the Ox Bow Incident – maybe even more so because I am such a fan of Dana Andrews – I don’t want anything to happen to him!) Being the historybuff that I am, I go back and read about the real Leo Frank case, which leads me to reading about all the other cases of townsfolk “taking justice in their own hands” and seeing the pictures it’s like – ok, no more. And incredible film that lays all the ugliness of small town, small minded mob rule on the table.

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    • Thank you for reading Deb! I know this isn’t a fun-filled movie or post. And I still think the movie is relevant today. At a small screening of the film in this landmarked house in Asbury Park, I sat in the back and sort of watched the audience’s reaction to those train doors opening and the mob their waiting for poor Hale. “The Ox Bow Incident” is the most emotional I’ve ever seen Dana Andrews and I loved him in this. ( “God have mercy on your souls. Because I won’t.” ) Crikey!! I think Meryn LeRoy and Claude Rains hit it out of the park with “They Won’t Forget“. ( “I wonder if he did it.” ) Jesus. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

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