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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


The Inside Story of Organized Crime (original poster) 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 Murder in the Museum (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

The Rise and Fall of a Smut Merchant
2 February 2006 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

What seems to be based on the life and crimes of early 1930's Mafia pioneer Lucky Luciano the movie "Confessions of a Vice Baron" is the story of convicted death row convict Lucky Lombardo, Sing Sing inmate #1452, going to see the prison warden for a last visit. Lombardo is set to "let it all hang out" and go public about his sleazy and sordid life of crime. The life that he worked himself up, or down, from a suave and debonair gigolo to an illegal abortionist to a big time pimp and white-slave trafficker and finally murderer.

Lucky Lombaro wants his story to be published after his death in order to tells those who feel, like Lucky did, that crime does pay. In fact as Lucky tells it doesn't and he's the best case example to prove it. Going back into Lucky's past we see, in a number of badly spliced together 1930's and 40's exploitation movies, how he got to where he's now on death row. We get to see how in the end his hubris and arrogance did him in. Lucky started out basically in the sex trade and had girls as young as 13 kidnapped and forced into a life of prostitution.

In the beginning of his criminal career Lucky was only trying to survive by his ability of charming rich old and young women out of their savings. It was later as his appetite grew he got into more lucrative and criminal activities. Involved in an abortion and baby selling racket Lucky soon saw that it was the illegal white-slave and prostitution business where the money was and he decided to take it over.

After making it to the top of the rich vice and prostitution business with dozens of pimps madams and bordellos, as well as hundreds of call-girls, under his control Lucky came up against someone whom he could't knock or pay off: Special prosecutor and new state DA Selmer Jackson. The D.A is obviously styled after the real life New York special prosecutor District Attorney and later Governor Thomas Dewey. Dewey's the man who put real life Mafioso Lucky Luciano behind bars. It was D.A Selmer in the end got the goods on Lucky that eventually put him in the Sing Sing "Hot Seat".

Very graphic for it's time "Confessions of a Vice Baron" does show the movie going public, if they back then could find a theater that showed the film, what a bunch of despicable lowlifes hoods the likes of Lucky Lombardo really were. Not the cleaned up version of gangsters shown in Hollywood produced and released movies that were shown back then in the neighborhood theaters.

Willie Costello as Lucky Lombardo, AKA Van Hersten Kilonis De Kevon, looks like he's either on downers or very repentant as we see him telling his life story during splicing breaks in the movie. We see him in some half dozen or so films that he was previously in. With Costello getting either heavier or thinner as well as having or not having a mustache in the scenes that he's in.

The movie just stops short of having Lucky Lombardo being executed with Lucky looking straight into the camera and telling the audience "Let my fate be a warning to you that Crime Does Not Pay". That's followed by a screaming newspaper headline saying "Gang Chief Pays For his Crimes" as if he was already executed with the sub-title of the very same story saying "Lombardo to die at Midnight"! As if he were still alive and waiting to be executed!

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