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Illegal (1955)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 796 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 11 critic

After an overly aggressive district attorney unknowingly sends an innocent man to the chair, he resigns, turns to drinking, and acquires a criminal clientèle.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Illegal (1955)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ellen Miles
...
Ray Borden
...
...
Frank Garland
Howard St. John ...
E.A. Smith
...
Miss Hinkel
...
Ralph Ford
Jan Merlin ...
Andy Garth
...
Joe Knight
Jay Adler ...
Joseph Carter
Henry Kulky ...
Taylor
James McCallion ...
Allen Parker
Addison Richards ...
Steve Harper
Lawrence Dobkin ...
Al Carol
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Storyline

Ambitious D.A. Victor Scott zealously prosecutes Ed Clary for a woman's murder. But as Clary walks "the last mile" to the electric chair, Scott receives evidence that exonerates the condemned man. Realizing that he's made a terrible mistake he tries to stop the execution but is too late. Humbled by his grievous misjudgement, Scott resigns as a prosecutor. Entering private practice, he employs the same cunning that made his reputation and draws the attention of mob kingpin, Frank Garland. The mobster succeeds in bribing Scott into representing one of his stooges on a murder rap and Scott, in a grand display of courtroom theatrics, wins the case. But soon Scott finds himself embroiled in dirty mob politics. The situation becomes intolerable when his former protege in the D.A.'s office is charged with a murder that seems to implicate her as an informant to the Garland mob. Can Victor defend the woman he secretly loves and also keep his life? Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a guy who marked 100 men for death - until a blonde called 'Angel' O'Hara marked him for life! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 March 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Schakale der Unterwelt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was (often unfavorably) compared to John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle (1950), right down to the presence of a pneumatic female starlet in a supporting role. In Huston's film, the wordless part was an early break for Marilyn Monroe. Here, it's a key role for Jayne Mansfield. See more »

Goofs

When Victor Scott addresses the jury he refers to the 45 revolver used to kill Gloria Benson in the opening scene. The gun in fact is a semi-automatic pistol, not a revolver. See more »

Quotes

Miss Hinkel: [answering the phone] Mr. Scott's office.
[pause]
Miss Hinkel: No, this is not the Safeway Cleaners and Dryers!
[hanging up]
Miss Hinkel: Some idiot wants his pants pressed. Maybe we oughta get a new number.
Victor Scott: Not so fast. We may be pressing pants again.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Zodiac (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Marvelous for Words
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Jayne Mansfield
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Almost Forgotten Noir
2 May 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

A remake of Warner's "The Mouthpiece" (1932) "Illegal" is a substantial half forgotten Noir! Directed for Warners in 1955 by Englishman Lewis Allen it stars Edward G. Robinson as a highly accomplished prosecuting attorney who becomes disillusioned when he learns that the man he was responsible for sending to the electric chair (a young DeForest Kelly) has finally been exonerated and found to be innocent after all. With his reputation now in tatters he hits the bottle ending up on skid row. But he slowly picks himself up from the gutter becomes a defence lawyer and a "fixer" for racketeer Albert Dekker. Robinson is terrific in it! His screen presence - with that soft spoken matter of fact acting style

  • is altogether appealing. This, after "Key Largo" (1948) was his first


picture for the studio since his contract ended with them in 1942. And while not being an overly auspicious return it wasn't a bad one either. Others in the cast are Nina Foch, Hugh Marlowe and making her debut , as Dekker's moll, the voluptuous Jayne Mansfield with the dubious moniker Angel O'Hara (Dekker auditioning her as she plays the piano glibly declares to Robinson "interesting girl - lives and breaths music!"). A fairly engaging movie, nicely written and sharply photographed in monochrome by Perverell Marley. The studio's legendary composer Max Steiner provides an attractive score which gives the movie an agreeable pace.

"Illegal" is the second feature on this excellent DVD that also features RKO's enjoyable Mitchum Noir "The Big Steal" (1949). A splendid package this fine double bill comes with trailers and commentaries for both movies plus a featurette. Interestingly the commentary on "Illegal" is spoken by the film's leading lady Nina Foch (she pronounces it Fash) who informs us that she now teaches film directing at USC. Not bad for an 84 year old! Also Robinson is interviewed on set by the ill-fated Gig Young where we learn that Robinson loaned some of his prized and valuable paintings from his famous art collection to the studio for use in the picture. They can readily be seen in the movie in Dekker's palatial apartment.

Classic line from "Illegal" - when Robinson warns Dekker not to blame him if the court case goes wrong - Dekker responds "I don't blame people - I bury 'em"!


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