The rise and fall of gang lord Joe Sante.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe Sante
...
Teresa Porter
...
Black Frankie Udino
...
Mrs. Sante
...
Lili St. Cyr
John Brinkley ...
Ernie Porter
...
Paul Moran
...
The Blonde
Frank Gerstle ...
District Attorney
...
Senator
Wally Cassell ...
Cherry Nose Sirago (adult)
Jeri Southern ...
Singer
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Storyline

Joe Sante wants to be the big man, and nobody is going stand in his way. In a world full of smoke, molls, shakedowns, muscle, and murder, Joe knows what he wants and how to get it. But can he disregard his poor old immigrant parents who are ashamed of his criminal life? Will he drag his sweet girlfriend into the life of the underworld? And most importantly, can Joe trust his mobster friends? Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

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Details

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Release Date:

January 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster Nr. 1  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Ron Soble. See more »

Connections

Featured in Wishful Thinking (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

LOST, LONELY AND LOOKING FOR LOVE
Written by Edward L. Alperson Jr.
Lyrics by Jerry Winn
Sung by Jeri Southern
See more »

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User Reviews

Routine gangster movie posing as Film Noir
25 May 2000 | by (Dallas, TX) – See all my reviews

This film is classified as Film Noir, but on close examination is a routine 50s gangster movie and a cheap one at that. Joey Sante is a wiseacre, rebellious kid of 11 who runs numbers for the local bookies. Joey's father disapproves of his disrespect and arrogance but his mother convinces him he will someday be a great man. Suddenly the scene changes and while the other characters age slightly (if at all), adolescent Joey is now 41 year old Steve Cochran playing a younger age. The rest of the film focuses on Joe Sante's organized crime career, rising through the ranks to eventually running his own organization. But after breaking with the big boss Paul Moran (Grant Withers in his final role), he suddenly becomes the object of a Senate probe and marks himself for extinction.

Sante's constant companion is Blackie (the affable Robert Strauss whose aging is suggested by hair frosting), first Joe's mentor while a boy, then his immediate superior, then his immediate subordinate and finally his trusted friend who does him in. Strauss had his chance to shore up if not carry the film, but his lackluster role got in the way due in great measure to uninspired direction.

The film assumes an air of self-importance, epic and biographical in concept and presented in Cinemascope, but never rises above a low grade "B" picture in any aspect. While it pretends to be a fascinating study of a hoodlum's life, it plods along like a routine stage drama. The only Noir element is Joe's seemingly conflicted character headed toward a fatalistic end. Joe is represented as a decent sort, supporting his mother (who accepts his largesse and then ultimately disowns him), keeping needy acquaintances on the payroll and even turning down gratuitous trysts with wanton floozies. He never betrays a friend, and kills people only when he absolutely must. We would be persuaded that Joe is really not a bad guy.

Corman's direction shows his simplistic style, but without the sight gags or wacky characters found in "Little Shop of Horrors" or "Bucket of Blood". The plot is forced, the script flat and the same blaring jazz soundtrack later used in "Shop" and "Bucket" is offered for suspense. Completely devoid of imagination, suspense, humor, interesting camera work or real empathy for any of the characters, the story lopes along until its inevitable, predictable conclusion.

Sorry Roger, suspense and schlock are two different concepts. You were in way over your head on this one.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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