Tony Curtis stars as Lepke, head of Murder Inc., the syndicate that spattered the headlines of the day with blood.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Bernice Meyer
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Robert Kane
Warren Berlinger ...
Gurrah Shapiro
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Mary Charlotte Wilcox ...
Marion
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Mr. Meyer
Jack Ackerman ...
Little Augie
Louis Guss ...
Max Rubin
Vaughn Meader ...
Lillian Adams ...
Mama Meyer
Albert Cole ...
Gross
...
Abe (Kid Twist) Reles
...
Schwartz
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Storyline

Tony Curtis stars as Lepke, head of Murder Inc., the syndicate that spattered the headlines of the day with blood.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He was the king of crime when crime was king.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 May 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Boss  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of only two ever cinema movies to feature the real-life character of mobster Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter. The second was around six years later with 1981's Gangster Wars (1981). See more »

Goofs

Throughout the movie, Lepke wears a clearly obvious 1970s hairstyle, including moderate sideburns, even though time frame of the film is the 1920s through the early 1940s. It is even obvious that he is wearing hairspray, a product that didn't become available until the 1950s, and wasn't commonly used by men until the late 1960s at the earliest. See more »

Quotes

Lucky Luciano: They're gonna fry you in the chair. Nice and slow, and I'm gonna enjoy it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Joyriders (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Curtis rocks
23 January 2012 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Brutal, straightforward bio-pic of the notorious Jewish gang boss. Writers Wesley Lau and Tamar Hoffs tell their sprawling story with fidelity to the headlines and nary a hint of what made this complicated mobster-cum-family man tick. (Curiously, there's never a mention of Lepke's infamous Murder Inc. operation, opting instead to concentrate on his drug trafficking and extortion enterprises.) Luckily, Tony Curtis' riveting performance fills in what the writers' have neglected, transforming Lepke Buchalter into a disturbingly three-dimensional character. Tossing off Yiddishisms with a sneer, keeping his impish smile to a minimum, he plays Lepke as a stone-faced ruthless street thug with a yen for power and conservative family values. It's as though Sidney Falco from "Sweet Smell of Success" had finally taken over J.J. Hunsecker's column. Whether snarling out death orders or tremulously asking his prospective father in law for permission to marry, Curtis invests the role with a skillful understatement (as well as a Bronx boy's veracity).

In the film's best scene, a queasy mixture of eroticism and complex emotions, Lepke is on the lam and holed up in a trollop's apartment. As the woman brazenly tempts him, Curtis silently and eloquently conveys the anguish of a lonely man struggling to remain faithful to his wife.

The director Menachem Golan is rarely this subtle, striving for ethnic texture and period color and overdoing both. Grubby hook-nosed Jews, swarthy pasta-eating Italians, and outsize Fedoras are shoved in our face. The violence is luridly overblown (a prostitute gets an ice pick thrust in her neck during lovemaking), and sometimes downright preposterous (a plate of spaghetti camouflages an explosive device). But just try to turn away from Curtis. With Anjanette Comer as Lepke's doting wife; Milton Berle, surprisingly restrained as her father; Barry Miller as the young Lepke; Vaughn Meader as an unlikely Walter Winchell.


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