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Gangster Joe Krozac is in prison for ten years. Reporter Paul North is fired by his newspaper for writing articles sympathetic to Krozac's wife and young son. She divorces Krozac and marries North. When Korzac gets out he goes looking for his former wife and son. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Edward G. Robinson stars in "The Last Gangster," with a cast that includes Lionel Stander, Rosa Stradler, James Stewart, John Carradine, and Sidney Blackmer.
As older men, Stander and Blackmer would be known for the TV show Hart to Hart (no mistaking that voice) and Rosemary's Baby, respectively.
Robinson is Joe Krozac, a powerful, ruthless mob boss who does not tolerate anyone moving in on his territory.
Joe takes a trip to Europe and returns with a bride, Talya (Rosa Stradner). Talya doesn't speak much English so she really doesn't know how Joe makes his living.
When she becomes pregnant, Joe is crazy with joy, absolutely obsessed with the idea of having a son, whom he dreams of taking over his crime business.
Joe, alas, taking a page out of Al Capone's book, lands in jail for ten years for tax evasion. He is determined to be a model prisoner so he can get out on time. When Talya brings the baby to see him, he only cares about the baby and not her.
When her son is called baby mobster in the newspaper, with a photo, Talya becomes disillusioned and stops bringing the baby. She also divorces Joe. Meanwhile, Joe left a lot of money somewhere and his old friends want it as soon as he's released.
This film went the typical gangster route until the end, and it's really very sweet. Robinson was such a wonderful actor - he could play a wimp or a bully, do drama and comedy - he was a real treasure.
James Stewart had an early role in this film. I thought he looked on the young side for Rosa Stradner, even though he was five years older. Toward the end of the film, I guess to show the passage of time, he has a mustache someone stuck on him, and it looks dreadful.
Rosa Stradner did a good job as an insecure woman from another country who marries the wrong man. She was married to Joseph Mankiewicz, during which time, she didn't work in the early years while he was out having affairs with Judy Garland and Linda Darnell.
But they stayed married, and she did a film, The Keys of the Kingdom, in which she was marvelous. At the age of 45, an alcoholic by now, she committed suicide. Very sad.
Supposedly the line from the Mankiewicz screenplay of All About Eve - "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night" was inspired by Rosa.
You won't have to fasten your seatbelts for this, but thanks to Robinson, it's good.
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