7.4/10
4,735
57 user 49 critic

Force of Evil (1948)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | March 1949 (USA)
An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Big Combo (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Jean Wallace
Body and Soul (1947)
Drama | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A talented boxer's young career hits difficult terrain when an unethical promoter takes interest in him.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Nick and his partner Al stage a payroll holdup. Al is shot and Nick kills a policeman. Nick hides out at a public pool, where he meets Peg Dobbs. They go back to her apartment and he forces her family to hide him from the police manhunt.

Director: John Berry
Stars: John Garfield, Shelley Winters, Wallace Ford
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a lovely wife and her new husband, settle in an ancient mansion on the East coast, she discovers he may want to kill her.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man is found murdered, with witnesses convinced about the woman they saw leaving his apartment. However, it becomes apparent that the woman has a twin, and finding out which one is the killer seems impossible.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Dave Burke hires two very different debt-burdened men for a bank robbery. Suspicion and prejudice threaten to end their partnership.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame
Gun Crazy (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An otherwise moral captain of a charter boat becomes financially strapped and is drawn into illegal activities in order to keep up payments on his boat.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time grifter and nightclub tout takes advantage of some fortuitous circumstances and tries to become a big-time player as a wrestling promoter.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
Detour (1945)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Howland Chamberlain ...
Freddie Bauer (as Howland Chamberlin)
...
...
Bill Ficco
Stanley Prager ...
...
Detective Egan
...
Hobe Wheelock
...
Edit

Storyline

Lawyer Joe Morse wants to consolidate all the small-time numbers racket operators into one big powerful operation. But his elder brother Leo is one of these small-time operators who wants to stay that way, preferring not to deal with the gangsters who dominate the big-time. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

March 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Numbers Racket  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The numbers shown in the newspaper do correctly add up as "Two & Two" figures: 784,342. See more »

Goofs

When Joe reads the newspaper at the beginning of the film about the prosecutor cracking down on the numbers racket, the second paragraph of the story is about another topic entirely. See more »

Quotes

[after Joe bails his brother, Doris and the others out of jail]
Doris Lowry: You know I've got my whole life to think about now and you won't be of any help.
Joe Morse: How do you know? You know everything I touch turns to gold. It's raining out and I promised my brother to take you home.
Doris Lowry: Well, that's a lie.
Joe Morse: Well, it's not true; but I would have had he asked. You know you can't tell about your life 'til you're all through living it. Come on, I'll give you a lift. You're tired, I'm tireder. What can happen to either one...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Red Hollywood (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet opus 131, no. 14: Ist Movement
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Classic film noir which finishes too soon
30 December 2001 | by See all my reviews

This is a gripping film noir, dark and despairing in mood, co-written and directed by Abraham Polonsky, shortly before he was blacklisted in Hollywood for his left-wing views. Those views are perhaps implied in the plot, which is about the illegal numbers game, and the attempt of a big operator to gain a monopoly of the racket in New York. The film shows how everybody from the individual punter putting a few cents on a number to the gangsters making a fortune out of the operation is soiled by the racket. For Polonsky, the numbers game may have symbolised capitalism as a whole, with both bosses and workers being corrupted by the system. However, the details of the plot are less important than the mood, characterisations and visual aspects of the movie.

John Garfield is brilliant as the charming, amoral lawyer Joe Morse, a Mr Fixit for racket-boss Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts). Thomas Gomez plays Joe's sick, world-weary brother Leo, who also runs an illegal numbers game, but independently of the mob, in an honorable and decent fashion. Some of the best scenes in the film show Joe trying, as he sees it, to help Leo by bringing him into Tucker's operation, while Leo resists and berates Joe for using his ability and education in such an ignoble cause. Much of this intense dialogue is reminiscent of that in plays by Clifford Odets or Arthur Miller.

Also compelling, but with a lighter feel, are scenes between Joe and Doris (Beatrice Pearson) a quiet but assured young woman who works for Leo. Joe adopts slick patter, and runs himself down, in an attempt to gain her sympathy. Also in the movie, but with a disappointingly small part, is Marie Windsor, as Edna, Tucker's wife; in a longer, more commercial, film, her role of femme fatale would almost certainly have been expanded.

But it is the sets, location work, cinematography and editing which lift the film above the average. Practically every scene and shot has visual interest, and it is definitely one film you want to go on longer than its allotted 80 minutes.


40 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 57 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page