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Confessions of a Vice Baron (1943)

On the eve of his execution, a vice-rackets bigshot recalls his various exploits in crimes such as abortion and white slavery, in which he frequently operated under an alias.

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Cast overview:
Willy Castello ...
Lucky Lombardi aka Count de Hoven / Van Hersten / Kilonis
J.M. Randall, alias Dr. Havens (edited from 'Race Suicide') (archive footage)


On the eve of his execution, a vice-rackets bigshot recalls his various exploits in crimes such as abortion and white slavery, in which he frequently operated under an alias.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HIRED GUNS - SEX SLAVES - EASY MONEY! (original poster-all caps) See more »







Release Date:

30 June 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Skid Row  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This wartime exploitation film was mostly made up of scenes from earlier exploitation films. New footage features Willy Castello as a prisoner about be be executed who dictates the the story of his life of crime. This provides the framework for the use of scenes from earlier films. See more »


Edited from The Wages of Sin (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Willy Castello's death-row "confessions", told through clips from earlier films. Amazing!
19 January 2003 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

This 1942 Willis Kent production stars the great Willy Castello as death-row inmate Lucky Lombardo, who offers to serve up a detailed "confession" of his criminal exploits to teach the younger generation that crime does not pay. These exploits are shown by clips from earlier Willis Kent productions starring Castello (!!!) and a few that he didn't star in. For instance, who can forget his role as the slimy pimp in Wages of Sin, or the oily gigolo in Mad Youth, or the unlicensed abortion doctor in Victims of Passion? They are all here, as well as the obscure Smashing The Vice Trust, which has not surfaced in the last few decades, but which looks fascinating. In addition, clips are shown from Kent's productions of Murder in the Museum (including a more explicit striptease that was spliced into later versions of the film, NOT found in the 1935 original) AND Cocaine Fiends, in which WC did not appear. The new footage of Castello is awkwardly lit and shot, looking like a stag film, and the warden and his secretary who listen to the testimony are poor performers, but as always Castello is a fascinating performer, suave and tough and charming and seedy. The static photography and flat inadequate lighting of the new footage really give the feel of a grim death-row setting, and Castello delivers the purple-prose script completely convincingly--as if he were Bogart delivering a Clifford Odets soliloquy. In a sense, this film is a "best-of" Willy Castello. Any lover of classic 1930s exploitation films should love this picture. Unfortunately, my copy is a bit splicy, but as a 60-year-old underground relic, we should be happy it exists at all. Castello only made a handful of films, but he created a searing image on the screen and will never be forgotten by fans of hard-boiled grindhouse cinema. Confessions of a Vice Baron is a fitting tribute to Castello's unique talent and to a genre of films that continues to fascinate viewers in a new century.

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