It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »
Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino results in the death of the new crime commissioner Alvin McClure. Rico's good friend Joe Massara, who works at the club as a professional dancer, works as the gang's lookout man and wants out of the gang. Rico is ambitious and eventually takes over Vettori's gang; he then moves up to the next echelon pushing out Diamond Pete Montana. When he orders Joe to dump his girlfriend Olga and re-join the gang, Olga decides there's only one way out for them. Written by
Dated, And Some Acting Suspect, But Still Good Viewing
Boy, is this gangster movie dated but Edward G. Robinson makes it so entertaining! Robinson, like James Cagney, can dominate a film. He certainly does that in this movie, and is sure fun to watch as "Enrico Bandello."
Everything about the movie, including the DVD transfer (although a lot better than the VHS) is dated-looking and sounding, but that helps make it interesting. The dialog is so passe that it's almost weird. I put on the English subtitles so I could understand everything because the slang of those days is something foreign to us nowadays. The different expressions of the day are fun to hear (and read).
The acting by the man (Thomas Jackson?) who plays the main cop is also strange, very wooden-like. He just didn't sound natural. Some of the other actors were likewise, others were fine. It was one of the early "talkies" so maybe things were still needed to be smoothed out, film-wise and acting-wise. In other words, some of the actors sounded professional and others amateurish.
The following year, James Cagney's "Public Enemy" came out and was much better, production-wise. What a big difference in the camera-work, for one. This film may not be the caliber of "Public Enemy" but it's still good and one to have in your collection.
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