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This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Tuesday 19 March 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Thursday 13 June 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); its San Francisco television premiere took place 28 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7); but in New York City its earliest documented airing did not take place until 19 July 1962 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
(There Are Spoilers) Movie about big city corruption involving an honest attorney who's forced to get in with the local political machine ,and become somewhat of a hack, in order to make a living by defending crooks swindlers and con-men associated with or members of it.
Just passing the New York State bar exam young Jack Mareno, Joseph Calleia, has high hopes for his future in the courts. Dropping over at his office Joe Dwire, Ted Healy, tells Jack to join the William J. Grady, Thomas Mitchall, club that runs everything that goes on in the neighborhood including the court system and local District Attorney.
Turning down Dwire's offer to work for the Grady Bunch all of Jack's cases end up getting lost or thrown out of court even if the person that he's defending was totally innocent. It became obvious to Jack that Grady and his boys were tampering with the court and juries making sure that he never wins a case so long he doesn't work for the Grady Mob. Depressed and hurt over what's happening Jack swallows his pride and gives into Boss Grady joining his team as a lawyer defending mostly his boys who end up on the wrong side of the law.
Going up in the world of New York City power politics Jack, who's now an assistant D.A, is promised by Grady that he's due to get nominated for NYC District Attorney in he upcoming election by his organization which would make Jack a shoo-in to win.
Jack later worrying about a friend of his back in he old neighborhood Old Man Rossetti, William Ricciardi, getting involved in this obvious scam by this smooth talking shyster Edward Spetner, Edward J. Nugent. Spetner's mining company claims that they have a gold-sniffing machine that can locate the yellow medal anywhere within 150 feet underground. This has the naive old man sink all his saving into the company's over the counter stock. Spetner also gets hundreds of other get rich quick suckers including Jack's girlfriend Abbey Raid's, Florence Rice, socialite but not too bright mother Mrs. Reid, Catherine Doucet, to do the same.
Jack going to his boss in the D.A's office Stringer, Paul Stanton, to alert him about this gold-sniffing scam is told to keep his nose out of it and keep his mouth shut. Later Grady's promise to Jack about being nominated by his organization falls through. Obviously because of Jack's opposition to this gold-locating device which Grady and his boys are involved with.
Running as an independent Jack gets his head handed to him by the Gardy Machine's use of massive voter fraud to beat him and is left a broken man with no clients to defend and no future to look forward to. As it turns out by Jack by being honest and sticking to his values and ethics gained the respect of the State Govenor who appoints him as special investigator in the very case, the gold-sniffing swindle. That ended up costing him the election as District Attorney but this time Jack wasn't going to let Grady and his band of goons beat him and scam his friends out of their life savings.
Has the same kind of story yet predates the far more famous "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" by two years. "Man of the People" is a well rounded and honest little film about political corruption and how one man can not only stand up to it but defeat it by not compromising his ideals and integrity.
Joseph Calleia gives a quite yet stalwart performance as the incorruptible neighborhood lawyer Jack Moreno a true "Man of the People" if there ever was one in the movies or in real life.
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