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Hoodlum Empire (1952)

5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 122 users  
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A former gangster who joined the army during World War II and became a hero is now leading a respectable life, out of the rackets. However, when he is called before a grand jury probing ... See full summary »

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(story) (as Bob Considine) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sen. Bill Stephens
...
Connie Williams
...
Charley Pignatalli
Vera Ralston ...
Marte Dufour
...
Nick Mancani
...
Joe Gray
...
Sen. Tower
Grant Withers ...
Rev. Simon Andrews
Taylor Holmes ...
Benjamin Lawton
Roy Barcroft ...
Morris Draper
William Murphy ...
Pete Dailey
...
Ted Dawson
...
Sen. Blake
...
Police Chief Tayls
Richard Benedict ...
Silky Tanner
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Storyline

A former gangster who joined the army during World War II and became a hero is now leading a respectable life, out of the rackets. However, when he is called before a grand jury probing organized crime activities, his former colleagues in the mob are afraid he'll spill the beans, and prepare to take measures to ensure that he doesn't. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nation's Billion Dollar Racket Exposed! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au royaume des crapules  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Cashing in on Kefauver
9 October 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Hoodlum Empire was Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures way of cashing in on the Senate Rackets hearings that were chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver. A forgotten figure today, Kefauver almost rode the publicity of those hearings all the way to the White House.

Yates put together a competent company of players to tell this story. I wish he'd given them a better story. John Russell is the nephew of a Lucky Luciano type mob boss played by Luther Adler who has an attack of conscience and gives up his rackets inheritance for a gas station in some town in middle America. Of course other associates of Adler's like Forrest Tucker aren't so keen on Russell just walking away. He knows too much.

As Hollywood coincidence would have it, Russell's company commander from World War II rises to the US Senate and he's the Kefauver figure. Crusading, crimefighting Senator Brian Donlevy has a subpoena out for the big crime bosses and Russell's on his witness list. So is Tucker, Adler, and so is Claire Trevor. One of the highlights of the Rackets hearings was the appearance of Bugsy Siegel's gal pal Virginia Hill and Trevor's character is modeled on her. Claire Trevor is as usual, the moll with the heart of gold. Russell's dumped her for a war bride from France played by Yates's wife Vera Hruba Ralston. She was queen of the Republic lot, like Norma Shearer was at MGM when she was married to Irving Thalberg. Of course Republic wasn't exactly MGM and Ralston didn't have quite the talent of Norma Shearer.

So Trevor's got her own agenda and its mixed in with this stew of a story which I will not further elaborate on. She and Adler are the standouts here if one can stand out in this. Adler was one of the best character actors in Hollywood at that time. He was usually a villain and played all kinds of ethnic types. He did a much better gangster portrayal later on in The Brotherhood.

Today's audiences won't find this appealing, especially if they don't know who Estes Kefauver was.


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