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Gus Linden (Pat O'Brien)former racketeer head of a Detroit local of the United Automobile Workers of America, A.F.L, attempts to destroy his successor, Blair Vickers (Dennis O'Keefe),so he can put his old rackets back into the auto factories. Vickers fights him off, ultimately winning help from Linden's attractive daughter, Barbara (Margaret Field), and from Joni Calvin (Tina Carver), Vickers' moll. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
An Irish donnybrook: O'Keefe and O'Brien square off in Motor City
John Cameron Swayze, the prominent TV newscaster from the early 1950s, ushers us in and out of this peek into mob infiltration of the trade unions. The mid-20th-century powerhouse cities like Detroit and Cleveland and Pittsburgh, now buckles on the rustbelt, would seem ideal settings for the gritty stories of the noir cycle, but precious few were set there; for both economic and esthetic reasons, coastal corruption was preferred.
A cache of nitroglycerine jammed into a pinball machine at a union local, just two days before Christmas, sends flames into the sky and Dennis O'Keefe's brother to kingdom come. He knows the conflagration was the work of mobster Pat O'Brien, just released from a spell in prison but determined nonetheless to extend his empire into the auto trades.
O'Brien's doting wife and his two grown kids (hothead Mark Damon and nice girl Margaret Field) are in denial about dad's brutal career and in ignorance of his involvement with a flashy entrepreneuse in the world of vice (Tina Carver). Until Damon, drunk but determined to defend his family's honor, breaks in O'Keefe's apartment and tries to kill him. (When O'Keefe roughs up his assailant, his police bodyguard stops him by warning, `You're bending his jacket!').
The rest of the movie is a pretty tight, and violent, cat-and-mouse game between O'Keefe and O'Brien a good, old-fashioned Irish vendetta. In an Oedipal twist, Damon falls prey to Carver's lures; Field, hospitalized after a car crash, starts to see that her dad may not be the grand old blarney-bag he pretends to be. But the key to stopping O'Brien proves to be hard-case Carver....
Coming late in the post-war crime-movie cycle, Inside Detroit ends up being more a civic-minded, law-and-order homily than a morally ambiguous drama. But its casting of veterans O'Brien and O'Keefe (only nine years his junior, but playing much younger), coupled with brisk pacing and a decent story, mark it as a movie that oughtn't to have been so neglected. After all, it's Motor City's only moment in the dark sun of the noir cycle.
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