Directed by Anatole Litvak • 1941 • United States
Starring John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell
John Garfield and Ida Lupino star in the big-screen adaptation of Irwin Shaw’s play “The Gentle People,” a pre–World War II allegory warning of the seductive allure and danger inherent in pretending that the looming danger of fascism could be ignored. In a small fishing village, the locals are relentlessly threatened by the town thug, Harold Goff (Garfield), who extorts cash each week for “protection,” yet they feel it’s better to pay and turn the other cheek than risk violence. But everything begins to change when the tailor’s daughter (Lupino) becomes attracted to Goff, seeing in him a way to escape the boredom of her dull, small-town life.