The big national crime syndicate has moved into town, partnering up with local crime boss Nick Scanlon. There are only two problems: First, Nick is the violent type, preferring to do things... See full summary »
Barry Sulivan is a cynical gangster who controls the Neptune Beach waterfront. He runs a numbers racket with the local soda shop owner: the police are in his pocket and the local hoods are on his payroll.
Nick Cherney, in prison for embezzling from Torno Freight Co., sees a chance to get back at Johnny Torno through his young priest brother Jess. He pays fellow prisoner Rocky, who gets out a... See full summary »
Jim Curtayne, formerly a successful criminal defense attorney and currently a recovering alcoholic, has turned to civil law because of his problems with the bottle, daughter Ginny delays marrying in order to keep her dad on the straight and narrow, but when the son of neighborhood friends is accused of murder, he is lured into returning to criminal law. Complications arise as the initially overconfident Curtayne experiences lapses inn memory and judgment as well as an uncooperative client. He finds himself well over his head as he tries to reclaim his self-confidence and professional standing. Written by
The People Against O'Hara is a slightly offbeat film to have come out in 1951. It's both a crime picture and a fairly realistic study of alcoholism. The photography is by noir tyro John Alton, and in many of its night-time and shadowy scenes the movie looks like a thriller, which it really isn't. Director John Sturges was an up and comer at the MGM of this time, and the film was one of the earlier shots at A level film-making. The cast,--Spencer Tracy, Diana Lynn, Pat O'Brien, John Hodiak--are all fine.
I can't say that the script is any great shakes, but it gets the job done. The story goes off in several directions, as it deals with everything from father-daughter love to gangsters. I like the film more than most people and think that had the script been tidied up it might have been a great movie. There are some splendid moments, and one in the courtroom in particular stands out, when a young thug delivers such a double-talking testimony that lawyer Tracy almost has a nervous breakdown while questioning him. The kid senses that Tracy is vulnerable and keeps on twisting his words deliberately, and Tracy goes for the bait. It's a tough scene to watch, alternately sad, realistic and infuriating.
Tracy plays his role as a recovering alcoholic with sincerity and a conspicuous absence of sentiment. This man is not a saint and never was. Even when clean and sober he's a far cry from perfect, and he always will be.
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