Special Agent Eliot Ness (Robert Stack) forms The Untouchables, an elite squad of incorruptible lawmen, in order to bring down underworld kingpin Al Capone. First televised as a two-part episode of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse in April 1959, The Untouchables was later combined into one seamless version for movie theaters titled "The Scarface Mob." Here, accompanying this movie version are the Desi Arnaz and Walter Winchell introductions that preceded parts one and two of the original Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse broadcast. Written by
This was a HUGE TV EVENT when it first came on. Yes, it functioned as the pilot of the subsequent TV series, with Eliot Ness played by Robert Stack. But it was longer, and a lot better. Many epic scenes of tank-like trucks with snowplows on them BASHING through the gates of the warehouses where the bad guys brewed illegal beer. Then the feds would jump out of the truck and spray everybody with Tommy Gun fire. (Of course TV shows like this in the 1950s made America more than eager to do the same thing in third world countries--Korea, Guatemala, Vietnam, the mid-East --you name it). Neville Brand as Al Capone was not in the TV series, because he'd already been vanquished by Ness at the end of this TV movie. He was distinguished for his schtick in this film, of laughing and then turning angry and surly in a split second, as his henchmen mobsters sat around a banquet table trying to keep up with his mood swings, alternately laughing and glowering along with him. Bob Hope later did a satire of this scene on one of his TV specials--the laughing and glowering. It was pretty funny. I was a dorky pre-teen in the local Methodist Youth Fellowship when the most memorable scene of the film came on: --Ness had a sweet girlfriend in the movie, who pure as she was, didn't seem to wear a bra under her sweaters, all of which seemed to unbutton down the front. In the key scene, several hulking Italian-American criminals bash down the door to her single-woman's apartment, security chain and all, and then rip open her sweater and "admire" the merchandise. Pretty hot stuff for 1950s family-hour viewing! In the next scene she and Ness are getting married and Ness organizes a parade of Capone's confiscated beer trucks, to get back at him for feeling up his girlfriend, craven non-Anglo animal that he is. Now that's American justice! --Pretty good for the same company that brought us I LOVE LUCY for so many years. Anyway--if you want a TAPE of this movie, be sure it's the original film with Neville Brand, and not just episodes of the later TV show.-B2
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