THE RACKET MAN - 1944 This is one of the bottom dwellers put out by the B film unit at Columbia Picture.
Tom Neal and Hugh Beaumont are two lads from the same neighbourhood who took different paths in life. Neal is a gangster while Beaumont became a cop. They both happen to be in love with the same girl, Jeanne Bates. The two get drafted into the army the same day but Beaumont, the cop, is released because of "flat feet"! Neal learns the hard way that just because he was a big man on the outside, he is just a soldier in the army. Neal sees the light and does the old bad guy turns good bit. The army decides that instead of sending Neal overseas he would be of more use in the States. They want him to go back on the streets as an undercover government agent. He is to pretend he is back in the "rackets" and help the government round up the black-market baddies.
Larry Parks plays a newspaper reporter who gets mixed up in the deal and blows Neal's cover. Fists, guns and Neal's death are all needed in order for the good guys to wrap this one up. Kind of slow for the first 15-20 minutes, but once it gets going, it is not a bad little programmer.
Hugh Beaumont would become "Ward Cleaver" on the LEAVE IT TO BEAVER show. Neal would end up in prison on murder charges and Larry Parks would end up being blacklisted during the 50's.
Look quick and you will see future film and television regular, Anthony Caruso.
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