Frankie Madison returns to New York after 14 years in prison. Noll Turner, Frankie's former partner in bootlegging, is now a wealthy nightclub manager, and Frankie is expecting him to honor a verbal '50:50' agreement they made when he was caught and Noll got away. Fat chance! Can Frankie, who knows only the strong-arm methods of Prohibition, win out against Big Business? It'll be tough...even with the unlikely alliance of torch singer Kay (Noll's ex-girlfriend).Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
At around ten minutes from end of the film, the main characters are travelling back to the city. After they pay the toll-booth attendant to cross a bridge, the car they are travelling in is seen speeding along beneath some elevated railway tracks. However, it is seen driving on the left side of the road, rather than the right side, for the USA. Some signage in the background is also reversed. An editing error (ie. footage got spliced in upside down) or it was deliberately put in this way to give the viewer the impression the car was travelling west to east. See more »
No need to recap the plot. There's one key scene unlike anything in the rest of 40's noir. Frankie (Lancaster) invades Dink's (Douglas) office to muscle in on what he's owed of Dink's big operation. But Frankie's a gangster of the uncomplicated 1930's, while Dink's a white-collar criminal of the coming 1950's. So. By the time Dink's accountant Dave (Corey) is through answering each of Frankie's threats with another layer of corporate ownership that can't possibly be divided, Frankie's reduced to a bundle of quivering frustration. In short, Dave has beaten all Frankie's assembled thugs with what amounts to a maze of legalese. As a result, piles of paper prove ultimately more powerful than gangs of gunmen in what amounts to a great unexpected scene.
All in all. The movie's decent 40's noir, long on atmosphere but too long on talk, at least to my liking. I suspect the screenplay was tailored to showcase producer Wallis's top 3 new stars, especially Scott who gets a lot of romantic dialog along with sultry screen time. The overall result is a movie composed of too many under-blended showcase scenes- - some quite good-- that nevertheless don't really gel into a compelling whole. It's the kind of movie where the stars are more memorable than the story.
Scott and Douglas, for example, really shine. Scott does some of the best acting of her career as the conflicted glamour girl. But I especially like Douglas's slimy version of a smooth-talking mastermind who's so self-assured, you can't wait to see him get what he's got coming. Douglas's early career specialized in such compromised types, a revelation to those only familiar with his later, more heroic, career. For his part, Lancaster does well enough with his distinctive looks, but Frankie is a less showy role than the other two.
Anyway, one thing for sure—producer Wallis certainly had an eagle eye for new talent, as this movie more than demonstrates.
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