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The Rise And Fall Of A Big Shot

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
2 April 2008

Big Town Czar is a B picture gangster film with the sole distinction of having been written by Ed Sullivan who at that time was not the host of America's most successful television variety show. Instead he was a newspaper gossip columnist, one of the rivals to the number one New York columnist Walter Winchell.

Barton MacLane plays the lead and we first see him pulling a palace coup against racketeer Walter Woolf King with sidekick Frank Jenks. He's on top of the world now, but he's got a kid brother in Tom Brown who wants to leave college and follow him into the rackets. That's a prospect that will break his parents, Oscar O'Shea and Esther Dale's hearts. It's not sitting well with his girlfriend Eve Arden either.

I'm guessing the original story that Sullivan wrote is better than how it was translated to the screen. The characters seem poorly motivated, a lot of their actions make no sense. Brown comes off as such a punk, I can't believe that MacLane just didn't slap some sense into him.

Ed Sullivan wrote himself and played himself in the film. He also narrates portions and while it's a good ten years earlier than I remember him from television in the Fifties, he looks about the same.

The cast from Barton MacLane, Eve Arden on down just go through their paces and collect a check. Sullivan looks the most animated of the lot and that's saying something if you remember him from television.

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The Gangster's Mistake

Author: Mike-764 from Rego Park, NY
1 January 2017

Phil Daley muscles in on his own boss taking over the NYC's number's racket and is enjoying the high life. His younger brother Danny quits college when he sees how his brother lives and becomes one of his agents. Danny decides to get into the fight racket by telling Chuck Hardy, championship contender, to take a dive. When Hardy loses the fight, rival gang leader Mike Luger loses a fortune and decides to get revenge on the Daleys.

This is a film without much purpose or reasoning. Barton MacLane's character is a jerk but at the same time, he is really given the blame and anger of everyone he encounters due to his brother's idiotic actions. The characters just seem to be going through the motions and the audience is just left thinking that there are a lot better stories that drive home the point that crime doesn't pay.

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