Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  1 September 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 219 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

A brave longshoreman lingers on after being gunned down by 3 racketeers, as a determined assistant D.A. searches hard for fearful witnesses against the men.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William "Bill" Keating
Madge Pitts
John Jacob Masters
Daisy 'Dee' Pauley
Al Dahlke
Lt. Anthony Vosnick
Sam Levene ...
Howard Rysdale
Mickey Shaughnessy ...
Solly Pitts
Benjy Karp
Nick Dennis ...
Midget Dock Worker
Joe Downing ...
Eddie 'Cockeye' Cook
Ned Wever ...
Captain Sid Wallace
Billy M. Greene ...
Monk Mohler
John McNamara ...
Judge Craiger
Amzie Strickland ...
Mrs. Cavanagh


Three men gun down Solly Pitts, 'rebel' against the racket-ridden Longshoremen's Union. Before dying, Pitts tells his wife 'Cockeye' Cook was one of the killers...but won't repeat it to the police, nor will anyone else help them. It seems it's a dockyard tradition to handle private battles without help. Bill Keating, new to the D.A.'s office, is just naive enough to think he can make a case against Cook; but his efforts seem to be leading only to further violence... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Teeming Drama of the City's Waterfront (original poster) See more »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

1 September 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drei Schritte vor der Hölle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Hedy Lamarr had a sizable supporting role that was deleted in post-production. See more »


When Madge is walking dog, she passes same watch repair shop twice in the same direction. See more »


Referenced in Love & War: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1994) See more »


Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
Music by Richard Rodgers
Arranged by Herschel Burke Gilbert
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User Reviews

Trouble still on the waterfront
3 May 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Richard Rodgers famous ballet number from On Your Toes serves as the title and the background music for Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, a tale of the New York waterfronts. The twin paradigm about the waterfront is observed in this film as in On The Waterfront, that it is systemically corrupt and the men there settle their own problems.

That's what young prosecutor Richard Egan and homicide cop Charles McGraw face when they try to build a case against three of union boss Walter Matthau's hired thugs. They shot honest pier boss Mickey Shaughnessy in the hallway of his Tenth Avenue apartment building and Shaughnessy's friend Harry Bellaver saw them leave. And while dying, Shaughnessy names his killers to his wife Jan Sterling.

The dockworkers have a Code of Silence, toughest there is and it isn't easy for Egan and McGraw. In fact DA Sam Levene is not sure there's enough to go on. Especially since neophyte prosecutor Egan will be facing top mob lawyer Dan Duryea. And Egan is also planning to get married to Julie Adams.

Slaughter On Tenth Avneue is a competently made and well paced noir film. The comparisons between this and On The Waterfront are too obvious to be ignored. Egan is no Marlon Brando, but I think he would have been the first to admit that. To the dockworkers he comes across as a white shoe lawyer, but Egan worked his way up from the Pennsylvania coal mines where his people were all unionized mine workers.

One thing that distinguishes this from other noir films is that our protagonist Egan is in fact an unambiguous hero unusual for a noir film. There's no real blending of the good and bad, the cast which is well made and gives good performances across the board falls one way or the other as well.

The scene shifts from the court to the docks in the last 20 minutes or so and the climax is really taken right out of On The Waterfront. Slaughter On Tenth Avenue is still a fine bit film making that does credit to the cast and those behind the camera.

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