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By 1954, the noir cycle had already sounded most of its dissonant themes.
Audiences had seen the crooked cop with the straight-arrow younger brother
(The Man Who Cheated Himself); the shantoozie with a past (Gilda, Dead
Reckoning, The Last Crooked Mile); the slick mobster beyond the reach of the
law with his alcoholic, trophy mistress (Key Largo, Railroaded,The Big
Heat); the street-savvy old jane who passes on scuttlebutt for a price
(Pickup on South Street). But, as Roy Rowland's Rogue Cop demonstrates,
there were still changes to be rung on those themes, jazzed up with fresh
casting and pithy writing.
Here, the cop gone sour isn't a homicidal brute like Edmond O'Brien in the same year's Shield For Murder (both movies were adapted from books by William McGivern, as was Fritz Lang's The Big Heat). He's dapper, laid-back Robert Taylor, known by his `brothers' on the force to be on the take but given a wide berth despite it (it's the thin blue line's equivalent of omertà).
When his younger brother Steve Forrest, also a policeman, identifies a connected hit-man, Taylor receives a summons from his paymaster, crime boss George Raft. Either Forrest recants his testimony, in return for a $15-grand payoff, or he'll be killed (the accused knows too much and might sing if convicted). Upon delivering the ultimatum, Taylor gets rebuffed by Forrest; he then tries to blackmail his brother's fiancée Janet Leigh, a nightclub singer, into trying to change his mind. Taylor doesn't really want Forrest to go bad, he just doesn't want him dead.
But Raft plays tougher than Taylor imagines. Lulling Taylor into thinking he still has time, Raft has Forrest shot in the back. And so the worm turns: Using both Leigh and Raft's discarded moll Anne Francis as his allies, Taylor swears vengeance....
Crisply photographed by John Seitz, Rogue Cop burrows snugly into its rotten urban core a city of dreadful night. With its large and aptly chosen cast, it nonetheless rests squarely on the shoulders of its central character, Taylor, who comes through with the performance of his career. At age 42, he passes muster as a burnt-out cop who's sold out for easy money in this urban jungle, corruption is just another perk passed up only by fools -- but still has the wits and the will to spring a few surprises when cornered.
There's plenty of brutal, even sadistic, action, but Rogue Cop is less an action picture than a character study that Taylor, somewhat surprisingly, manages to pull off. With its siblings The Big Heat and Shield For Murder, Rogue Cop makes up a grim tryptich of big-town America in the mid-20th century.
With some of the roles he played as he got older, it's hard to believe
that at one time MGM was worried about a powder puff image that Robert
Taylor had in his youth.
Seeing Taylor as Chris Kelvaney in Rogue Cop is like seeing a whole different player than Armand in Camille. But it's the same guy and a film like Rogue Cop brings out the maturity and depth Taylor had as an artist as well as a person.
Taylor is a long time big city cop on the take to gangland boss George Raft. He's risen pretty high in the department and could go farther. He's a pretty cynical dude, in his chosen field he's seen a lot of the worst that people can be.
But he's got a kid brother played by Steve Forrest who's a straight arrow. He doesn't know about his brother and he gets himself killed because he crosses Raft in the performance of his duty.
Forrest's death gives Taylor a mission, he'll take Raft down no matter what it costs.
There are two prominent female roles, Janet Leigh as Forrest's girl friend who later develops an interest in Taylor and Anne Francis as Raft's moll who turns against him. Both women hold their own in what is a male dominated film. Francis borrows quite a bit from Gloria Grahame and her performance in The Big Heat. Also both Rogue Cop and The Big Heat have blackmail of a syndicate boss as the underpinning of the story.
Raft of course is in his element as a gangland boss. In the rest of the cast there's a very nice performance by Robert Ellenstein as Taylor's honest partner. The final shootout with Raft and company with the two of them is one of the best and most realistic ever staged in a film.
For Robert Taylor fans, Rogue Cop is an absolute must and people who don't think much of Taylor as player will be jolted at how well he does in this film.
Robert Taylor plays Chris Kelvaney, a dirty cop on the take with the mob
this exciting police drama. Taylor goes on a campaign of revenge against
those very mobsters, who decide to kill Kelvaney's brother, also a cop,
witnessing something that could incriminate the mob leaders.
The biggest surprise here is Robert Taylor's performance as the dirty cop. We have seen him play many rather stiff heroic types such as in "Ivanhoe", but here, he is tough and gritty as the dirty cop, and very believable. The dialogue in this movie is sharp and well written and similar to a Raymond Chandler detective novel. There is also a good fist-fight between Alan Hale, Jr. ( yes! the skipper on Gilligans Island) and Robert Taylor. A top notch supporting cast rounds out what is an overall good movie , especially for those who like the old hard-boiled detective stories.
A hard-edged, gritty, violent little crime drama from, of all studios, MGM! Probably the closest that studio ever came to a noir thriller, only the overall gloss gives it away as an MGM film (guess they just couldn't help themselves); otherwise it could well have come from Warners or RKO. Robert Taylor is in top form as a hardened detective who has been immersed for so long in the seedy, seamy world of big-city crime that he finally succumbs to its corruption and is even tempted to sell out his younger brother, who is also a policeman. George Raft as the slimy crime boss, Janet Leigh as his brother's pretty, sweet (but hardly naive) fiancé, Robert Ellenstein (in a standout performance) as his partner and friend who doesn't want to see Taylor become the kind of lowlife he's always hated, all combine with a Chandler-esqe script by Sydney Boehm, tough, no-nonsense direction from Roy Rowland (a reliable but somewhat stolid director of mainly westerns and musicals) and a violent, action-filled climax to make this a must-see for noir fans. Highly recommended.
Robert Taylor puts an even harder edge on his 'Johnny Eager' type of role
with another hard-boiled, even tougher characterization as a man steeped in
underworld crime until his brother (Steve Forrest) is killed by mosbsters.
Crisply directed, nice all-around performances from an attractive
cast--Janet Leigh, Steve Forrest, George Raft, Alan Hale, Jr.--with Taylor
highly convincing in the tough central role.
Not the kind of gritty film noir one would suspect coming from the MGM studios--but well worth it with its Raymond Chandler type of dialogue and a climactic gun fight that is extremely well handled.
Crime buffs should enjoy this one--as will Robert Taylor's fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Robert Taylor was a wonderful choice for this film about a crooked cop, who likes the high life and has little respect for his honest colleagues. What would eventually stop Chris Kelvaney (Taylor), would be the death of his brother Eddie played by Steve Forrest. He was an honest cop and crosses the mob by identifying a killer, they are tied to by blackmail. This is the part of a lifetime for Taylor as he walks with the dirt and corruption of the mob boss, George Raft. Raft is icy, his black eyes never showing any emotion until he dumps his girl (Anne Francis) of Honey West fame, and sends her to the gutter "giving" her to his friends. Janet Leigh does a nice job as Eddie's reluctant girl, not knowing if she loves him, and when she is confronted by Chris about her shady past with the mob, falls apart. Taylor is trying to make her help him save Eddie, telling her he will spill the beans about her back- ground. She refuses and he roughs her up, ending the confrontation by kissing her, and after she somewhat submits to the embrace, he tells her she is no better than he. Robert Ellenstein is Kelvaney's partner, and is sick of the "take," but in the end helps Chris get the killers. This film is a favorite of the NYPD along with another Taylor film "Johnny Eager." Taylor's performance as "Johnny Eager" was superb, but I think this mature role with Taylor fighting, snarling, and just in general being disgusted with everything out shines even that much ignored Oscar caliber performance of 1942. Great noir, for all those crime film fans. 2008 By the way, if you watch closely, the scene in the brothers house, the photo on the mantle is really Taylor's baby picture with his mother holding him and his father kneeling next to her. I have watched this film dozens of times and never noticed it till today.
This picture is an example of a perfect cast. The leading role is a possibility for Robert Taylor to prove that he is an allrounder as an actor. Hard, dirty and gritty - he even use "angelface" Janet Leigh for his interests. Miss Leigh as pretty and credible as always. The same to George Raft. He even could play his part asleep. Anne Francis, Steve Forrest and Vince Edwards are also convincing. Roy Rowland (he directs Taylor in the western-comedy-hit "Many rivers to cross") captures the atmosphere of policeman and gentleman-gangster. Writer Boehm also is the author of "The big heat" an movie which is similar in atmosphere and plot.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While this film does not have every one of the usual trademarks of Film Noir, it is very much a Noir-style film. Like true Noir, Robert Taylor is not a typical cop but one on the take from the mob. The problem is that these thugs are now pressuring him to make his brother, another cop, refuse to identify a petty thug who murdered someone. The problem is that while Taylor isn't above lying or cheating, his brother (Steve Forrest) is a decent guy and won't play along with the crooks. So Taylor is stuck--should he obey his masters who have bought and paid for him or should he remain loyal to his brother? This makes for a great dilemma and also allows Taylor to play one of his grittier and more rugged roles (something I really appreciated after all the "pretty boy" roles of the 1930s and early 40s). I particularly liked watching Taylor in an all-out brawl with Alan Hale, Jr., as Taylor ending up beating him with a brutal punch to the throat! Now THAT'S what you expect in Noir! Overall, this film is well made and interesting. About the only negative is one brief scene with Janet Leigh when Taylor kisses her--it just doesn't ring true. Still, this one's a keeper and well worth your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SOME SPOILERS** Being on the scene of a murder by giving the escaped
killer "Wrinkels" Fallon, Peter Brcco, a parking ticket policeman Eddie
Kelvaney, Steve Forrest,has him picked out of a lineup and put in jail
to be tried at a later date, What Eddie doesn't know is that "Wrinkles"
got the goods on big time mobsters Beumonte and Ackerman, George Raft &
Robert F. Simon, whom he's been blackmailing for over 10 years. The two
hoods are now literally scared to death with what Wrinkles' got on them
that he'll make a deal with the D.A for a lighter sentence to turn
states evidence on them.
Beaument and Ackerman do have an ace up their sleeve in having Eddie recant his testimony and that's non-other then his big brother Det. Chis Kelvaney, Robert Taylor, who's been taking payoff from them for years. Chris Kelvaney is giving the task to keep his kid brother's mouth shut with a $15,000.00 payoff himself for doing it. It just turns out that Eddie is an incorruptible good and honest cop like his and Chris late and highly decorated father and in trying to do the right thing. The right thing ends up landing him right on a cold slab in the city morgue.
Robert Taylor playing a corrupt cop is at his handsome and devilish best as Det. Kalvaney as he goes through a change of life realizing what a creep he was all these years and a disgrace to not only the police department but to brother Eddie and late hero cop dad. Kalvaney dealing with crumbs like Beaumonte & Ackerman in the end redeems himself by getting blasted and left bleeding to death in a violent shootout with them.
Trying to get Eddie's girl Karen, Janet Leigh, to talk him out of testifying against Wrinkle's Det. Kelvaney blackmails her. Threatening to exposed Karen of not only being, well let's just say,both used and damaged merchandise but also being notorious Miami gangster Farnkie Nemo's #1 moll. Karen at first outraged at Eddie's big brothers disgusting and underhanded tactics finally goes along with him only if it would save Eddie's life. Det. Kelvaney given by his bosses, Beaumonte & Ackerman, 48 hours to turn Eddie around is instead double cross. The two hoods have Eddie gunned down that evening in full sight of his terrified girl Karen even before she has a chance to get Eddie to change his mind in testifying.
It's during these stressful and heart wrenching times that Det. Kelvaney finally sees what a disgrace he was to both his brother dad and finally to himself and has a complete break with his sleazy past. The rogue cop goes full out, even if it cost him his life, to get Beaumonte & Ackerman not only to clear his guilty conscience but also bring his brothers killers to justice.
Also in the movie is a pre-Ben Casey Vince Edwards playing hit-man Joey Langly who's brought in from out of town to knock off Eddie. Langly later gets the living hell beaten out of him by Det. Kelvany and never gets to see the inside of a prison cell. With him being gunned down himself in a shootout between Kelvany, and unlike himself, straight laced and honest cop Det Myers, Robert Ellenstein, and gangsters Beaomonte & Ackerman.
There's also a very young Anne Francis as Beaumonte's live-in moll Nancy whom he keep drunk all the time,to keep her mind off his business. Later after she got on Beaumonte's nerves by pouring a bucket of ice cubes over his head after an outraged, Det. Kelvaney worked him over and broke it, which has her being kicked out of his penthouse and into, as an act of unholy revenge, one of Beaumonte's sleazy illegal business establishments Fonzo's whorehouse. That lead Nancy to reveal, to Det. Kelvaney, just what exactly Wrinkles got on him and his partner Ackerman that the two hoodlums would go as far as murdering a policeman to keep from seeing the light of day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ROGUE COP 1954
Bent cops, the Mob, murder and revenge are all at the top of the bill in this MGM production. The cast includes, Robert Taylor, Steve Forrest, George Raft, Janet Leigh, Anne Francis, Robert Ellenstein, Alan Hale Jr, Robert F. Simon, Olive Carey and Vince Edwards.
Robert Taylor plays a crooked Detective who is on the payroll of Mob boss, George Raft. Raft calls up Taylor for a meeting at the race track. Raft needs Taylor to have a word with Taylor's kid brother, rookie cop, Steve Forrest. Forrest is the only witness against a murderer, Peter Brocco that the Mob wants released. The Mob is willing to cough up 10 large for Forrest to have some memory issues.
Taylor has a talk with his brother but Forrest is not interested. Taylor tells Forrest that the Mob is not inclined to take no for an answer. Taylor also has a word with Forrest's girl, nightclub singer, Janet Leigh. Taylor wants Leigh to "suggest" to Forrest that the 10 grand would let them get married and such. Forrest still refuses to play ball. Taylor has another meeting with Raft and Raft's Mob boss, Robert F. Simon. Taylor asks why this particular man, Peter Brocco is so important. He gets no answer to the question, instead Raft tells Taylor that Forrest had best agree to the deal, or else drastic measures will be taken. Taylor loses his cool which ends with Raft and himself exchanging punches with Raft taking a thumping. (As does Raft's bodyguard, Alan Hale Jr) Taylor warns Raft and Simon that he will be most upset if anything happens to his brother.
In the middle of all this is the alcoholic girlfriend of Raft, Anne Francis. After Taylor pounds on Raft he takes it out on Francis after she cracks about the beating.
The film now goes to a straight up vengeance picture as the Mob does indeed kill Forrest. Taylor goes off the rails as he goes after Brocco to find out what he has on Raft and company. Turns out Brocco had witnessed Raft and Simon do a murder years ago, and has been blackmailing them since. Bodies are needless to say going to pile up along the way here.
For a MGM film, this is a real change of pace with plenty of violence etc. Robert Taylor is excellent as the bent cop as is Raft as the mobster. The screenplay is by Sydney Boehm from the novel of William P. McGivern. McGivern also wrote the novels for ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW, THE BIG HEAT, HELL ON FRISCO BAY and SHIELD FOR MURDER. All these novels were turned into films.
ROGUE COP cinematographer, John F Seitz was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography. Seitz was a favourite of Alan Ladd and worked with Ladd over 20 times. The 7 time Oscar nominated Seitz was a sure hand in the Noir genre with, SUNSET BLVD, THE LOST WEEKEND, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, CALCUTTA, SAIGON, THE BIG CLOCK, CHICAGO DEADLINE, APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER and DOUBLE INDEMNITY as examples of his work.
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