is a 1951 American film noir
which tackled the issue of racial tensions
and collective behavior
. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards
, including Best Original Screenplay
and Best Film Editing
The film centers around a five-year-old black girl, Carolyn, is believed to be kidnapped, though she had actually fallen down a well.
Carolyn's disappearance causes anger and confusion in the community. A white stranger, Claude Packard, is blamed for the "crime." Before Carolyn is found and Claude captured, the man is tried and convicted by the townspeople.
This movie was filmed on location in Marysville
and Yuba City
in 1950, but the towns represented a town in the Deep South
. The students in the class room scenes were kids from the Marysville Elementary School
The film avoids expected stereotypes of the time. Most of the black characters are shown as decent, intelligent, and well-spoken (aside from the thuggish rioters, who are not among the main characters).
- Richard Rober as Sheriff Kellogg
- Gwendolyn Laster as Carolyn Crawford
- Maidie Norman as Martha Crawford
- Harry Morgan as Claude Packard
- Christine Larson as Casey
- George Hamilton as Grandpa Peabody
- Ernest Anderson as Ralph Crawford
- Dick Simmons as Deputy Mickey McClure