Standard Article

The Politics of Force of Evil

An Analysis of Abraham Polonsky's Preblacklist Film

3. 1946 to 1975

2. 1946–1955

  1. Christine Noll Brinckmann

Published Online: 13 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470671153.wbhaf047

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

How to Cite

Brinckmann, C. N. 2011. The Politics of Force of Evil. The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film. 3:2:45.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 NOV 2011


Force of Evil was the first film Abraham Polonsky directed, and it is not without structural flaws. It is, however, a rare work of art in that it is poetic, popular, and political at the same time. Unlike other political art in which the balance between message and aesthetic form is usually uneven and the difficulties the artist had in creating an imaginative framework around his or her statement can be felt throughout, Force of Evil shows no seams. Although revealing the corruption of the capitalist system, the information it gives cannot be subtracted from its fictional, emotional impact, and although its effect on the viewer is agitational, there is no proposition for practical action.


  • hollywood blacklist;
  • preblacklist films;
  • Abraham Polonsky;
  • John Garfield;
  • crime as metaphor;
  • corruption;
  • gangster film;
  • film noir