Open Secret

2653. OPEN SECRET (1948-USA). With JOHN IRELAND, JANE RANDOLPH, ROMAN BOHNEN, SHELDON LEONARD, GEORGE TYNE, ARTHUR O’CONNELL. This taut mystery melodrama offers an incisive commentary on the horror of racism and the manner in which ignorance breeds the worst kind of hate. Newlywed Paul Lester and wife Nancy pay a visit to Ed Stevens, Paul’s old army buddy. They are unaware that Ed recently has been hanging out with a vicious gang of Jew-hating hoodlums. Ed disappears, but before doing so he leaves word with his landlady to allow Paul and Nancy access to his apartment. As they settle in, the Lesters find some white supremacy literature hidden on a shelf behind some dishes. At the same time, an intruder breaks into Stevens’ apartment. He is searching for something, which he does not find before being scared off. Stevens does not return to greet his friends, and just as the Lesters are beginning to seriously ponder his whereabouts, his corpse turns up! Now upright and loyal Paul Lester sets out to determine who killed Ed Stevens and why. Stevens lives in a rapidly changing neighborhood where it has lately become clear that Jews are not wanted. “We just don’t like to have them around here,” a neighborhood woman casualty tells the Lesters. “I suppose some people just can’t live without hating,” observes Paul: a declaration which sums up the essence of this trenchant drama. The cast is sprinkled with some top character actors giving standout performances, including Sheldon Leonard as a dogged cop, Roman Bohnen as an alcoholic wife-abusing racist and Arthur O’Connell as a vicious henchman. 68 minutes. Drama