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The Enforcer (1951)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,425 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 14 critic

A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.

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Title: The Enforcer (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dist. Atty. Martin Ferguson
...
Big Babe Lazick
...
Joseph Rico (as Ted De Corsia)
...
Albert Mendoza
...
Capt. Frank Nelson
...
James (Duke) Malloy (as Lawrence Tolan)
King Donovan ...
Sgt. Whitlow
...
Herman (as Robert Steele)
Adelaide Klein ...
Olga Kirshen
...
Thomas O'Hara
Tito Vuolo ...
Tony Vetto
John Kellogg ...
Vince
Jack Lambert ...
Philadelphia Tom Zaca
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Storyline

After years of pursuit, Assistant D.A. Martin Ferguson has a good case against Murder, Inc. boss Albert Mendoza. Mendoza is in jail and his lieutenant Joseph Rico is going to testify. But Rico falls to his death and Ferguson must work through the night going over everything to build the case anew. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"If you're smart you'll come down - if you're dumb you'll be dead..." (one-sheet poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Crime | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tiger  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the New York Times' Feb. 16, 2014 article on films influenced by the Kefauver hearings, Sen. Estes Kefauver appeared in a prologue for this film. See more »

Goofs

When Rico gets in his car at the hideout on his way to fulfill a "contract" in the city, a crew member is visible in the reflection of the window of the car door as it is closed. See more »

Quotes

[Rico is convinced that Mendoza has escaped from prison, so Ferguson takes him down to Mendoza's cell]
Joseph Rico: [after looking in] He's smiling at me...
[looks in again]
Joseph Rico: Mendoza! Call them off! I'm not going into court! I swear I won't! Tell 'em! I'm not squealing! Please, tell 'em I'm not...
D.A. Martin Ferguson: Rico! You're gonna talk! Do you hear me? You're gonna talk! You're not blowing up this case! It took four years to put him in that cell and when he walks out he's going to the chair. So you gonna talk, it's the only ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bullets Over Hollywood (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Kiss Me Sweet
Written by Milton Drake
Played over the sidewalk loudspeakers
See more »

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User Reviews

Post 1950 police noir with flashbacks inside of flashbacks.
7 September 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This is a perfect example of the typical post-1950 noir which tended to be told from the point of view of the police rather than the criminal so they are less existential than the classic pre-1950 noir. Blame it on the blacklist. Anyway, it retains the noir virtues of a simple story economically told and expressively photographed. Only the garishness of containing a super star and being directed, uncredited, by Raoul Walsh , lifts this film to 'A' status but in fact this is a 'B' picture all the way.

There are plot holes aplenty, cars which are fifteen years out of date, an unusually high body count and police procedures which would give the ACLU, if not the Supreme Court, apoplexy. That said The Enforcer is a lot of fun and a satisfying little picture. Connoisseurs of character actors will have a field day as the picture contains a who's who of heavies and henchmen.

THE ENFORCER is one of the few noirs with the hyper classic devise of a flashback inside of a flashback. In fact there are three of them. The body of the film is D.A. Humphrey Bogart and cop Roy Roberts reviewing their notes for a case against a murder for hire racket. During the review they recall the arrest Zero Mostel who tells a story about joining the gang of killers. Then they listen to a dying man who tells a story of a failed hit. In another flashback a man who we already know to be dead tells a story of the organizations first hit. There have been more convoluted flashback structures (there are some with flashbacks inside of flashbacks inside of flashbacks) but at least add THE ENFORCER to the list of noirs with flashbacks within flashbacks.

P.S. Ted de Corsia should either try to stay away from high places or else get a good pair of sneakers- c.f. THE NAKED CITY.


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