Francois Donge, a wealthy manufacturer, is fighting death at hospital. He officially suffers from a food poisoning. But actually, his wife Bebe deliberately poisoned him. Flashback: ten ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film was based on a play "The Beggars Are Coming to Town" by Theodore Reeves which opened on Broadway on October 27, 1945 starring Paul Kelly and Luther Adler in the Lancaster/Douglas roles as former bootleggers. This was Byron Haskin's first directorial assignment since 1928, having worked as a cameraman in the interim. Haskin felt that the reason none of the cast objected was as newcomers they didn't know enough to object. See more »
(at around 57 min) Dave has explained how the club is organized financially. Frankie turns, walks away in confusion, then turns back to Dave facing downstage right. Then there is a jump cut and Frankie is suddenly turned 90 degrees facing downstage left. 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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