Political corruption is vividly depicted as a ruthless WWI veteran takes almost complete control of a state with the help of a crooked lawyer. The film is enhanced by John Payne's persuasive performance as "The Boss."
Eddie Rico has been the book-keeper of an important Mafia boss but now he is an honest merchant and lives with his family in Florida. Everything changes when the police starts to search for his brothers. Now Eddie sees himself forced to get in touch with the Mafia again. Written by
Darling, I'm not blaming you. You had no choice.
Oh, but I did have a choice twenty years ago. When Kubik offered me that job, I should have thrown it in is face. He showed me a plush-lined rat hole, and I crawled in it and made it my home!
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Towards the end of the noir cycle director Phil Karlsen came up with a really good crime drama about three brothers all involved to a greater and lesser degree with organized crime. The oldest, Richard Conte, was at one time the syndicate accountant. But he's retired now, running a laundry the boys have set him up with. His biggest problem now is that he and wife Dianne Foster are trying to adopt a child.
But brothers Paul Picerni and James Darren are still very much involved and at the dirty end of it. Picerni's a contract killer who just made a major hit and Darren drove the car. Darren's gotten married and disappeared and the syndicate heads are worried he'll turn state's evidence. His brother-in-law Lamont Johnson's already been to the District Attorney.
Conte has faith and trusts in the big boss Larry Gates who's been close to the whole family Rico, including their mother Argentina Brunetti who took a bullet meant for Gates way back when. So when Gates tells him to find Darren, Conte takes it on face value.
Of course it's all not that simple and it becomes a tragedy for The Brothers Rico all around.
The Brothers Rico made in the Fifties as it was could have been an anti-Communist film. The syndicate seems to be really well organized, from Little Italy in New York, to Phoenix Arizona, to Miami, Florida, they've got Conte's movements all tracked. Karlson really builds the tension up as Conte seems to keep running into old acquaintances, but just keeps going on trust.
Larry Gates who usually plays upright moral types on screen has that persona work for him as the syndicate boss who's just pulling the strings from coast to coast. His is the best performance in the film, followed closely by Harry Bellaver an amiable underboss in Phoenix who's just following orders.
Kathryn Grant is in this film as Darren's bride. This year that The Brothers Rico came out, she became Mrs. Bing Crosby. She'd keep working a few more years, but after that retired to raise the Old Groaner's second family. She registers well in her role as a pregnant bride in love.
The Brothers Rico is a gripping noir film, not one for the paranoid minded among us.
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