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Gangster and cop killer Jack Martin is on the run from the law, and hides out in a small town. Low on funds, he engineers a clever bank robbery that yields him a big bundle. Now he has not only the cops and the FBI after him, but also the local crime boss, who's outraged that an outsider can pull off a heist like that in his territory and not cut him in on it. Written by
In the early days of television, there was an influx of great actors and actresses who decided to test the waters of this new media. We had the likes of Dick Powell, Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Loretta Young, for example. Not so with Walter Mathau. This great actor actually originated from the early days of television and then migrated to the movies. Mathau did countless guest appearances on many television programs before getting his big break in such films as "The Kentuckian" (1955) and "A Face in the Crowd" (1957). This film was only one of a few that he had under his belt until he made "The Gangster Story" in 1960.
Incidentally, this was his directing debut also, so between appearing in television and movies, this gave him the rare chance to show his talent in this aspect. Unfortunately for Mathau, this was his only attempt to direct a movie. The quality of this film in it's cinematography, the acting and the dialogue is way below standard and this probably was the reason why he never directed another film.
This is, at best, a fair film that is a potential cult classic. The plot is transparent and predictable. The supporting acting is stilted and awkward. His real wife, Carol Grace, plays the typical "bimbo" role of standing-by-her-man-no-matter-how-bad-he-is (*sigh*) in this cheesy docudrama. However, because it is an early Mathau vehicle, it is an interesting conversation piece for those who admire his talents.
Not an academy award winner, but an interesting chestnut from a long and illustrious career.
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