The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

“Look! I don’t like to get pushed around! I don’t like people I like to be pushed around! I don’t like anybody to get pushed around!”

That was Sam Masterson, played by Van Heflin at his peak, in the noir classic The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946).

It’s a startling, electrifying line for a film noir, it rings out amid the corruption and murder and adultery and beatings and strong armed cops like something out of the Grapes of Wrath. You can hear Henry Fonda’s Tom Joad saying it, explaining why he has to brain the goons. You can’t here Bogie’s Rick saying it in Casablanca, not at all, not even after he shoots the Nazi. But then Heflin’s character is no hard boiled anti-hero, he’s the real thing, and he exposes the rotten heart of capitalism in Iverstown and brings it crashing down, if only because he doesn’t like anybody to get pushed around.

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