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The Enforcer (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Crime, Film-Noir | 24 February 1951 (USA)
A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.

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, (uncredited)

Writer:

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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
...
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:

HUMPHREY BOGART As The Double-Fisted District Attorney Who Matched Bullet For Bullet With A Nationwide Network Of Killers-For-Hire! (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

Everett Sloane, who plays the kingpin of the underworld in this movie, provided the voice of do-gooder Dick Tracy in the 1961 cartoon shorts based loosely on the Chester Gould comic strip. See more »

Goofs

Near the middle of the film the two young women are talking with each other outside in front of a house. After their conversation one of them walks toward the street. As she walks almost out of the picture you can see the shadow of the camera move across her body. See more »

Quotes

Joseph Rico: [Giving Babe money] There's your first week's pay.
Babe Lazich: Thanks, Mr. Rico, Now I'm ready for the big stuff - maybe even a killing.
Joseph Rico: [grabbing Babe by the collar] Don't ever say that! A murder is a contract. A hit is the sucker that gets killed. Remember those words and use 'em. Then, even if the cops tap our phone, they don't know what you're talkin' about! Get that?
Babe Lazich: Yes, sir. Anything else?
Joseph Rico: Yes. Burn that tent you're wearin' and get yourself a suit!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bullets Over Hollywood (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

A Neat Little "How He Gets Caught" Plot
5 August 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was one of the last twenty films of Bogart's career. Having finally achieved stardom with HIGH SIERRA (also directed by Raoul Walsh) and THE MALTESE FALCON, Bogie (by 1950) was in a position to pick and choose what films he would make. Artistically his peak was probably THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRES in 1948, but his Oscar winning film, THE African QUEEN, was in 1951, and he still had IN A LONELY PLACE and THE CAINE MUTINY in his future.

Here he returns to Walsh as his director, and leads a bunch of fellow character actors in a nice example of the thriller that is based on the error that undoes the evil criminal - an inverted detective story device that is best seen today in the television series of COLUMBO.

It is a first rate bunch of character players, led by a superb quartet of evil: Everett Sloan, Ted de Corsia, Jack Lambert, and Bob Steele. Sloan played villains before (he is that nasty customer, Arthur Bannister the great attorney, in Orson Welles's THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI), but his performance shows what he could achieve with so little. He only appears in two scenes in the film (one when he invents "Murder, Inc." before de Corsia's astounded eyes; the other when he is alternately arrogant and panic-stricken in the prison cell he resides in). A normal looking, even dapper little man, he is a human monster. De Corsia is wonderful as the "Abe Reles" character, whose fear of Sloan/"Mendoza" leads to his death (historically, Reles probably was thrown out of the window of his hotel by policemen who were bribed to do so, although they tied a set of sheets together to make it look like Reles was killed in a stupid attempt at escaping). Listen to the way he describes the unfortunate Tony Vetto, the cab driver who witnessed Mendoza's first murder, by describing his face - a combination of disgust and dismissal in the description as de Corsia reads the line. Lambert is a forgotten character actor, who played many hoods in his films (he could, like De Corsia and Steele, look threatening very easily). But he usually has above-average intelligence(watch him in THE KILLERS - he's the first of Albert Dekker's gang who figures out that the double cross may not be from Burt Lancaster). Here he tries to keep incarcerated as protection from Sloan and De Corsia, only to find he has to cooperate with Bogart to be safely imprisoned. Steele was a cowboy film star, but he appeared with Bogie twice as sadistic gunmen. Here he is Herman, one of the torpedoes of Mendoza's gang. But Herman could be a cousin of "Canino", the creep who works for Eddie Geiger in THE BIG SLEEP, and who poisons a (for once) poignantly tragic Elisha Cook Jr. Steele was a good actor, but most people who don't recall his heyday as a cowboy star remember him only as the garrulous Sergeant Duffy in television's "F-TROOP" ("There I was at the Alamo with Davy Crockett...").

The most interesting casting of all is Zero Mostel, as Babe, the hapless, fat thug who gets in over his head (but does survive, for all that). Mostel was in several good films in the early 1950s (PANIC IN THE CITY, with Richard Widmark, Jack Palance, and Paul Douglas is another example). He even was in two films with Bogart (this one and SIROCCO, where he played a slightly more evil character). But the black list ended his budding movie career, and forced him into nightclub work, and back to the legitimate theater - to ULYSSES IN NIGHTOWN, RHINOCEROS, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. He ended being one of the great stars of Broadway history, with two first rate performances captured on film: FUNNY THING HAPPENED.... (as Pseudolus), and THE PRODUCERS (as Max Bialystok). One can regret the unfairness of the blacklist, and the lost film performances, but then he might have remained a character actor in supporting parts, and not become a star. It is a point for all of us to think about.


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