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Illegal (1955)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  16 March 1956 (France)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 926 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 13 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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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
Edit

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:

The 'fixer' took care of everything! 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:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An example of the kind of films that Edward G. Robinson was reduced to making, having fallen foul of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. 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

Victor Scott: Well, every time you go into a courtroom, it's a gamble.
Frank Garland: I'm the house, Victor. I never gamble!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940) 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

 
Brilliant Performance by Robinson
15 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie reminded me of how great an actor Edward G. Robinson was. His performance is absolutely brilliant as the tough crime-fighting D.A. who sends an innocent man to the electric chair, then drowns his sorrows in the bottle and morphs into an unscrupulous attorney for the Mob.

There is some terrific dialog, like when he admonishes the new D.A. with: "When you sit in that chair and have a thought, just remember, I sat there too and had it before you."

Although the remainder of the cast deliver good performances, the movie is basically a showcase of Robinson's incredible acting talent. He dominates every scene he is in -- except where the gorgeous Jayne Mansfield is present, who plays the crime boss's classy mistress.

Mansfield is poetry-in-motion, a screen goddess, and much better than Marilyn Monroe ever was. This is her film debut and she only appears in a few short scenes - which she totally steals - but is absolutely stunning eye candy. It's worth noting that although Mansfield is portrayed as a dumb blonde, in real life she had an IQ of 163, spoke 5 languages, and was an accomplished pianist - a talent she splendidly shows off in the movie by playing and singing for the crime boss.

The direction and cinematography are good. There are some nice plot twists and Robinson finally redeems his character in an unexpected ending. This movie is classic noir and not to be missed.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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