On trial for murdering his girlfriend, philandering stockbroker Larry Ballentine takes the stand to claim his innocence and describe the actual, but improbable sounding, sequence of events that led to her death.
Nick Magellan works for the corrupt businessman Charlie Lupo, who presides over an influential crime syndicate in Manhattan, New York. New York senators belong to the realm of this syndicate. Charlie has a recalcitrant daughter, Kathy Lupo. She is in love with Nick. Nick protects Kathy against her father when she leaves her parental home. Charlie always knows not to be judged, but when one of the senators talks too much during a television interview, he is in the center of a massive fraud research by the law. Written by
Broderick Crawford borrows a great deal from his Academy Award winning Willie Stark from All The King's Men in playing underworld boss Frank Lupo in New York Confidential. Crawford is a combination of Stark and Don Corleone and he doesn't get the best of it.
Like Corleone and Stark, Lupo has trouble with his children, but unlike Stark, Lupo has a daughter played by Anne Bancroft. Now if Bancroft was content to be Connie Corleone she could have any number of willing suitors who are in the family business working for dad. She aspires to more and her father's reputation kills off any chance she can marry respectably.
Not that respectability guarantees honesty. When old line money WASP William Forrest pulls the rug out from under a multi-million dollar deal the Syndicate is bankrolling they decide to take care of him in the true Syndicate manner. Crawford though he opposes the idea gets the contract and from their the dominoes start to fall.
One thing however when the fires threatens, organized crime knows how to start backfires to make sure the organization itself is not touched. A whole lot of dead bodies start to pile up before the film ends.
Also starring in the film is Richard Conte playing an out of town hit man who Crawford takes a shine to and has him stay in New York. Conte was always great in noir films and he certainly is here.
New York Confidential touches upon a lot of the issues involving systemic corruption much the same way The Godfather films do. Of course it does not have the budget those blockbusters had nor an unforgettable music score, still New York Confidential makes it point. It's still a valid film for today's audience.
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