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Edward Everett Horton
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
Conte takes on Crawford in mid-50s look at mobsters as organization men
In Russell Rouse's New York Confidential, Broderick Crawford plays a darker extension of his Harry Brock character in Born Yesterday. Brock was a corrupt businessman, a wheeler-dealer with senators in his pocket, but the movie (a comedy, after all) never went so far as to label him a mobster, much less a killer. But five years later, in the wake of the televised Kefauver hearings which brought the scope of organized crime to a rapt public, Crawford has become a cog in a vast `syndicate' or `cartel' - an important cog in its Manhattan headquarters, yes, but only one piece of its unstoppable machinery.
When one of his vassals stages an unauthorized hit, Crawford calls in some talent from Chicago (Richard Conte) to enforce discipline. The widowed Crawford warms to Conte as the son he never had, though he does have a handful of a rebellious daughter (Ann Bancroft) as well as a high-maintenance mistress with a platinum chignon (Marilyn Maxwell). Maxwell has eyes for Conte, but his eyes stay affixed on the unstable, hard-drinking Bancroft, who wants nothing to do with her father's business - or with any of his minions.
The triangulated romance, however, takes second place to the mob's tangled business interests. When a recalcitrant lobbyist scuttles a scheme to profit from government shipping contracts, he's ordered killed. In the movie's best orchestrated sequence, torpedo Mike Mazurki accomplishes the hit but botches his escape from a hotel; wounded, he decides to flip and sing.
With the big heat now on, the executive board decides Crawford must take the fall; he, however, decides to join Mazurki in singing a duet. So the board contracts Conte to eliminate the now dangerous Crawford....
The gangster movies of the early 'thirties endure as character studies of flamboyant but flawed figures played by the likes of Edward G. Robinson, Jimmy Cagney and Paul Muni. This spats-and-tommyguns genre, however, fell out of favor in the 'forties (given global upheaval, bootleggers became small fry). When mob pictures reemerged in the 1950s, their difference in tone was palpable. From 711 Ocean Drive in 1950 to Phil Karlson's 1957 The Brothers Rico (also starring Conte), crime had become corporate, with formalized hierarchies, far-flung interests, and strict, if ruthless, rules for doing business. That's the thread that runs through New York Confidential: that no there's no individual who's indispensable, that the survival of the organization remains paramount.
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