Frankie Madison returns to New York after 14 years in prison. Noll Turner, Frankie's former partner in bootlegging, is now a wealthy nightclub manager, and Frankie is expecting him to honor a verbal '50:50' agreement they made when he was caught and Noll got away. Fat chance! Can Frankie, who knows only the strong-arm methods of Prohibition, win out against Big Business? It'll be tough...even with the unlikely alliance of torch singer Kay (Noll's ex-girlfriend). Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film was based on a play "The Beggars Are Coming to Town" by Theodore Reeves which opened on Broadway on October 27, 1945 starring Paul Kelly and Luther Adler in the Lancaster/Douglas roles as former bootleggers. This was Byron Haskin's first directorial assignment since 1928, having worked as a cameraman in the interim. Haskin felt that the reason none of the cast objected was as newcomers they didn't know enough to object. See more »
(at around 1 min) Dave has explained how the club is organized financially. Frankie turns, walks away in confusion, then turns back to Dave facing downstage right. Then there is a jump cut and Frankie is suddenly turned 90 degrees facing downstage left. See more »
Burt Lancaster has been in prison since the days of Al Capone, and when released he sets out to claim his share of ill-gotten gains from his former partner, Kirk Douglas. Kirk is pleasant at first, lulling Burt with wine, gourmet food, and the company of his mistress Lizbeth Scott, but he has no intention of sharing anything. What starts out as a buddy relationship becomes a battle of wits and wills as the two fight for control of Kirk's nightclub, lots of money, and Lizbeth.
This is no "Double Indemnity", but the two main characters are written and acted well enough to hold our interest. Douglas steals the film as the cleverer thug, the one who was smart enough to get away and go legit. His performance is lively and has touches of humor, particularly in the scene where he proves that the pen is mightier than the sword, or at least that legalese is mightier than the gun. Lancaster has a more violent, less sympathetic character, but has fun playing a brute who's forced to actually think for the first time in his life.
Not a great film, but an enjoyable one. Interesting for the way it shows the changes in the criminal world over the course of a decade, from the brutality of the thirties to the emerging sophistication of the fifties.
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