Dancer George Raft (Ray Danton) finds himself involved with the criminal underworld. After a conflict with gangster boss Frank Donatella (Joe de Santis), he is exiled to Hollywoood, where ...
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Dancer George Raft (Ray Danton) finds himself involved with the criminal underworld. After a conflict with gangster boss Frank Donatella (Joe de Santis), he is exiled to Hollywoood, where he wins a role in the film "Scarface" and becomes famous. He lives with actress Lisa Lang (Jayne Mansfield) in a huge villa, but when his mother dies, he deserts her. His career slides downhill until he is offered a part in "Some Like it Hot" and becomes famous again. Written by
Just over 25 minutes into the picture, in a scene that was to have taken place in the late 1920s or early 1930s, George Raft (Ray Danton) takes a pack of cigarettes from the cigarette girl's tray. The label shows that they (and later, all packs in the tray) are Lucky Strikes. But the packs are the WW2-and-later design, featuring a white background. Before the early days of WW2, Lucky Strike packs had a dark green background, which would look dark on black and white film. See more »
I doubt that George Raft will ever get his real story out there now that he's been gone since 1980. That he grew up in the gangster culture of the teens and Roaring Twenties in New York is certainly the case and the film reveals that he never drank. Probably a good thing for his liver that he did not indulge in the bathtub liquor during Prohibition. Maybe why he lived 87 years, the last 20 or so in some dire straits.
But after losing everything he made in Hollywood and after getting with barely a change of clothes from revolutionary Havana in 1959 this man needed a stake. So he sold the story of his life to B studio Allied Artists and the result was The George Raft Story.
Unfortunately too many people were still alive and names were changed to protect some not very innocent. Owney Madden, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano from the gangster world, Norma Shearer, Betty Grable, Virginia Pine, Marlene Dietrich from Hollywood.
Most of all there was George Raft's wife Grayce Mulrooney. He might have married any or all of those women whom he was linked to at times, but he married Ms. Mulrooney back in the Twenties and as she was a Catholic she would not grant him a divorce. She died in 1971 and she's most important factor missing from this film.
Frank Gorshin plays the part of another man very much alive, Mack Gray. Check his credits on this site, you'll find a lot of him in Raft films, but others as well. Gray was Raft's retainer from New York days and he was a mysterious individual. His nickname was Killer and no one ever knew how much truth there was in that nickname.
Among the women in this film that were involved with Raft are Jayne Mansfield, Julie London, and Barrie Chase. Jayne Mansfield is supposed to be Betty Grable, but a good thing she didn't use her real name or Grable would have sued.
Ray Danton played Raft and not badly, but he reminded me more of Joe Mantegna playing George Raft in the Warren Beatty classic Bugsy. As for Ben Siegel as much as could be told was in this film. The relationship is far more clearly delineated in Beatty's film.
Another 20 years we might have gotten the unvarnished version of George Raft's life. This one is real loosely based and George needed the money.
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