7.3/10
5,208
60 user 55 critic

Force of Evil (1948)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | March 1949 (USA)
An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director:

Abraham Polonsky

Writers:

Abraham Polonsky (screenplay), Ira Wolfert (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Garfield ... Joe Morse
Thomas Gomez ... Leo Morse
Marie Windsor ... Edna Tucker
Howland Chamberlain ... Freddie Bauer (as Howland Chamberlin)
Roy Roberts ... Ben Tucker
Paul Fix ... Bill Ficco
Stanley Prager ... Wally
Barry Kelley ... Detective Egan
Paul McVey ... Hobe Wheelock
Beatrice Pearson ... Doris Lowry
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Storyline

Lawyer Joe Morse wants to consolidate all the small-time numbers racket operators into one big powerful operation. But his elder brother Leo is one of these small-time operators who wants to stay that way, preferring not to deal with the gangsters who dominate the big-time. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John Garfield puts his Body and Soul into Force of Evil.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tucker's People See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$948,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,165,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Joe's office is broken into, the cover to the safe is left open. When Joe goes into his office, the cover is closed. See more »

Quotes

Joe Morse: I'm a lawyer - your clever little lawyer - and I've taken over the formation of this numbers monopoly to make it legal, respectable, and very profitable for you. And I've done it for two reasons.
Ben Tucker: What's the second reason?
See more »

Alternate Versions

All existing copies of the film are of the version that was cut by 10 minutes in order to fit into a double bill. See more »

Connections

Featured in New York at the Movies (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet opus 131, no. 14: Ist Movement
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Non-Stop Torrent of Talk
3 February 2003 | by plaidpotatoSee all my reviews

There was something odd about this film. About the rhythm of the speech--or the rythmlessness, more like. There was much talk. The talk started the instant the credits stopped, fast talk, the actors talking fast to cram in all those words. The speech became a drone. It became white noise, ambience. Within ten minutes I was struggling not to go into a trance. Within fifteen minutes I gave in; I just stared at the pictures as the speech washed over me, like a nice cotton fluff swabbing of the brain. I may as well have watched with the sound off. The plot was lost to me. There were characters, and they talked, and they did things, and I have no idea who they were, what they were talking about, or what they were doing, but I stared at them. It wasn't that I was tired or bored, just mesmerized by the drone. I may have been better off watching with the sound off, or with the voices dubbed into French or some other language I don't understand, and reading English subtitles. At least then I would have been active and engaged.

I stared at the pictures. Some of them were nice. I like black and white movies to be very black and white, and this was, for the most part, although, like one other reviewer pointed out, there were a lot of grey interiors that were rather drab. The exterior New York scenes were few but good--Wall Street, the bridge, the lighthouse, the dead guy lying in the rocks who looked like a rock. There was a darkly lit room and a woman in a black dress with long black gloves that stretched up past her elbows, and a snatch of very white upper arms, and white curtains billowing in the background. That was nice. I liked the part in the restaurant with the silhouettes on the wall, a man smoking, and another man doing weird things with his fingers, like abstract finger puppets.

There were lots of subtle nice camera movements, usually flowing from one set of characters talking to another set of characters talking. I liked the one where the camera floated over a crowd scene and followed one character moving through the crowd, and the camera must have been suspended by a wire, or was placed at the end of a very long crane, or maybe on a catwalk, or something. It was very graceful, and I don't remember there being much talking in that scene, for once.

I liked the geometry of the character placement in a lot of the scenes (although not as much as in Anatomy of a Murder, which had really good human geometry.) There was a shot of three people standing in a kind of a triangle talking, and one of them slowly moved back, and then suddenly the camera blurted to the right a bit, and a fourth character was birthed on to the screen and they were all standing there in a parallelogram. That was good.

After reading the other mostly very eloquent reviews on this site, I really wish I'd been able to follow the plot, because it sounds interesting now. I wish I'd taped the film. I was going to vote it a 4/10, but now I think I won't vote for it at all until I have a chance to see it again and hopefully not fall into a trance.


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