Boomerang! (1947): Elia Kazan’s Oscar-Nominated Picture Starring Dana Andrews

Director Elia Kazan had two movies released in 1947: “Boomerang!” and “Gentleman’s Agreement” (see below), both “social problem,” or message pictures. In “Boomerang!” scribe Richard Murphy, based on a magazine article about a real case that happened in Bridgeport, Connecticut, relates how a district attorney (played by the reliable Dana Andrews) begins to realize that the man he’s about to prosecute for murder is actually innocent. As a result, he switches positions and begins to gather evidence to exonerate him.
Grade: B

Theatrical release poster
This “wrong man accused” movie is done in a semi-documentary, not stylish mode. The cast also includes Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb, Arthur Kennedy, Cara Williams, Ed Begley, and Karl Malden, who would appear in many other Kazan’s films, including “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Dana Andrews as State’s Attorney Henry L. Harvey
Jane Wyatt as Madge Harvey
Lee J. Cobb as Chief Harold F. “Robby” Robinson
Cara Williams as Irene Nelson (waitress)
Arthur Kennedy as John Waldron (murder suspect)
Sam Levene as Dave Woods (reporter)
Taylor Holmes as T. M. Wade (publisher)
Robert Keith as “Mac” McCreery
Ed Begley as Paul Harris
Karl Malden as Det. Lt. White
William Challee as Stone, Harvey’s assistant
Lewis Leverett as Whitney, Harvey’s assistant
Arthur Miller as a suspect in the police lineup (uncredited)
Wyrley Birch as Father Lambert (uncredited)
Philip Coolidge as Jim Crossman (uncredited)
Directed by Elia Kazan
Screenplay by Richard Murphy, based on “The Perfect Case,” 1945 article in The Reader’s Digest by Anthony Abbot
Produced by Louis de Rochemont, Darryl F. ZanuckNarrated by Reed Hadley
Cinematography: Norbert Brodine (b/w)
Edited by Harmon Jones
Music by David Buttolph
Production and distribution: 20th Century FoxRelease date: March 5, 1947Running time: 88 minutes
Budget $1.14 million
Box office $2.25 million (rentals)

Oscar Nominations: 1
Screenplay: Richard Murphy
Oscar Awards: None
Oscar Context
Kazan’s “Gentleman’s Agreement,” based on Laura Z. Hobson’s novel and adapted to the screen by Moss Hart, dealt with anti-Semitism. At Oscar time, the drama was nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 3. “Gentleman’s Agreement” was praised by most critics, one of whom one found it to be “more savagely arresting and properly resolved as a picture than it was as a book,” and describing its script as “electric with honest reportage.” The other two Best Picture nominees represented lighter fare: “The Bishop’s Wife,” with 6 nominations, and “Miracle on 34th Street,” with 4 nods.
The Screenplay Oscar went to George Seaton for “Miracle on 34th Street.”