After WW2, ex-mobster war hero Joe Gray goes straight, to the dismay of his New York mob boss uncle who's afraid that his nephew will testify against his outfit before a Grand Jury.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sen. Bill Stephens
...
Connie Williams
...
Charley Pignatalli
...
Marte Dufour
...
Nick Mancani
...
Joe Gray
...
Sen. Tower
...
Rev. Simon Andrews
Taylor Holmes ...
Benjamin Lawton
...
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

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Nation's Billion Dollar Racket Exposed! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

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Details

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Release Date:

15 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au royaume des crapules  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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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