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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Release Date:

January 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster Nr. 1  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was banned in Sweden in 1961. 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
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User Reviews

 
Steve Cochran remembers his past rise as a gangster
10 October 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"I, Mobster" (1958) is a traditional gangster story and a marginal film noir, coming in just at the cusp of that category. Nearly all gangster stories at least since "Scarface" (1932), "Little Caesar" (1931), "Doorway to Hell" (1930) and "The Public Enemy" (1931) have the same pattern: the rise and fall of the main character, the gangster. This continued more recently with movies about Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Legs Diamond, Lepke and remains to this day. That part of a gangster story is as predictable as rounding up or shooting down the bad guys in most westerns.

I've yet to see "I, Mobster" in its widescreen version in which we might appreciate the camera work.

This is a film with good pacing and energy. Steve Cochran plays a different kind of gangster, one who is exceptionally kind to his friends and their families and who is stuck on one girl (Lita Milan) and doesn't play around with flashy women. He uses muscle and murder to drive his rise and union rackets, but he's not a psychopath. He's materialistic and has a sense of fashion and taste. Cochran plays the part with ease and magnetically, making the film a must for his fans. His career had peaked, although this may not have been obvious at the time, but his skill as an actor was still rising. Milan, a good girl, keeps her distance from him because of his gangster ways, but in an interesting shift, goes over to his side rather than testify against him. Her younger brother is a Sword of Damocles to Cochran.

The mentor and first boss of Cochran is Robert Strauss. Setting aside the boisterous side to his acting skills, he comes in as tough but overtly friendly, really more sly and cold than he appears, and a calculating survivor in a game that ends lives prematurely. He's a strong actor who is cast well in his role.

In the lead parts, then, the film has several well-etched characterizations. In support, Celia Lovsky does what she can with the hackneyed part of the mother to whom Cochran is devoted. Corman inserts two night club acts, one a vocal by jazz artist Jeri Southern and the other, an exotic dance by the feline Lili St. Cyr, playing herself and hugely enjoying it. Smaller roles add interest, being filled by some recognizable actors like Grant Withers, Yvette Vickers, Wally Cassell, Robert Shayne, and Ed Nelson.

The volume on the jazz score is turned up at times, but it's a good score.

Although the film has these strong points that make it watchable and enjoyable, the story is overly familiar and this prevents it from achieving a greater impact.


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