The story of a group of friends in turn of the century New York, from their early days as street hoods to their rise in the world of organized crime. As their crime empire expands, they ... See full summary »
The film focuses on the war of two gangs in 1930s Harlem for the control of illegal gaming - one headed by black strategic godfather Bumpy Johnson and another by white ruthless hothead Dutch Schultz. Negotiations proposed by white syndicate boss Lucky Luciano never get under way, blood flows and Johnson gets jailed. When Johnson is paroled, he gets the work of enforcer for mighty Stephanie "The Queen" St. Clair. She is also jailed for racketeering and when she leaves she makes him promise "no violence". Written by
Among many 1930s cultural references sprinkled in the film, one occurs during the scene when Lucky and Dutch are discussing business in a car. At the end of the ride Dutch says: "I'm going to the library. I'm going to take out that book "How to #*%& friends and irritate people." Here he is making a reference to the popular self-help book by Dale Carnegie "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Published in 1936 and an instant best-seller, the book would have been discussed widely in social circles during the time of the film, hence why Lucky smirked when he heard the joke. See more »
While Bumpy and Madame St. Claire are listening to opera on the Victrola, the record playing displays the Okeh label. Okeh Records, founded in 1918 recorded mainly middle-of-the road popular music, standards, light classical and blues, but not opera. See more »
I remember the days when you could get a guy hit for 40 bucks.
We live in inflationary times
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It seems to me like in today's film world, critics, whether it be Ebert or the viewers, are quick to down a film if it has a large budget. I think Hoodlum fell victim to this epidemic. With a bankroll of wonderful actors and actresses, and some of the best historical recreation of the locations, the movie delivers. The plot was simple, but it doesn't need to be complicated in a gangster flick like this. It was based on real people, so the creators of the film cannot go ballistic on changing the story. Maybe the 'critics' would like it better if it had a little green man who uses the force, or maybe a future crime prevention device. Well, you won't find this here. It's a wonderful, semi-true story about the way things were in Harlem and the surroundings areas back then. Fishburn turned in a wonderful performance, and Roth played a great villian as he always does. Just relax, and take it for what it's meant to be. Entertainment.
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