Now grown-up, Johnny Columbo returns to New York from Italy having sworn a vendetta against the Black Hand who killed his father years earlier. Becoming romantically involved with a girl ... See full summary »
Now grown-up, Johnny Columbo returns to New York from Italy having sworn a vendetta against the Black Hand who killed his father years earlier. Becoming romantically involved with a girl from school and meeting up with an honest cop also fighting the gangs, Columbo starts to wonder if there may be legal ways to defeat them. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
After his father is murdered for standing up to the mob Johnny Columbo swears to avenge his death. Well entrenched in Little Italy the Mafia uses violence and intimidation to keep the community in its grip and Columbo finds it difficult at first to get assistance in breaking the code of silence that solidify's their grip. When he enlists the help of detective Louis Lorelli things begin to happen and the mob responds harshly.
Gene Kelly in an off type role as Johnny is a slight stretch (it begs for Richard Conti) but convincing enough. It is J. Carroll Naish as intrepid detective Lorelli though that runs away with the film. It's nice to see J. center stage and noble given his career as a venal and craven weakling in many of his films hanging on the edge of scenes, ready to pounce on someone's misfortune.
Workman like director Richard Thorpe more than once allows his scenes to drag in spots but cinematographer Paul Vogels excellent camera work fills the suspense lapses with excellently lit exteriors and some nice subtle tracking work. There are Lang like moments as well with Thorpe eschewing suspense music in favor of silence and ambient noise to heighten scenes but his poor pacing and moments of incredulity prevent the film from reaching full potential.
There is certainly more ugly truth to be found in the film Black Hand that deals with the same topic of the Mafia as the more sophisticated violently romantic Godfather films. Pale in comparison to the production values, vaunted cast and and directing styles of the saga it still delivers moments that rival.
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