6.4/10
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18 user 11 critic

Black Hand (1950)

Passed | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 12 March 1950 (USA)
Now grown-up, Johnny Columbo returns to New York from Italy having sworn a vendetta against the Black Hand who killed his father years earlier. Becoming romantically involved with a girl ... See full summary »

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writers:

Luther Davis (screen play), Leo Townsend (from a story by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Kelly ... Giovanni E. 'Johnny' Columbo
J. Carrol Naish ... Louis Lorelli
Teresa Celli ... Isabella Gomboli
Marc Lawrence ... Caesar Xavier Serpi
Frank Puglia ... Carlo Sabballera
Barry Kelley ... Police Capt. Thompson
Mario Siletti ... Benny Danetta / Nino
Carl Milletaire Carl Milletaire ... George Allani / Tomasino
Peter Brocco ... Roberto Columbo
Eleonora von Mendelssohn Eleonora von Mendelssohn ... Maria Columbo (as Eleonora Mendelssohn)
Grazia Narciso Grazia Narciso ... Mrs. Danetta
Maurice Samuels Maurice Samuels ... Moriani
Burk Symon Burk Symon ... Judge
Bert Freed ... Prosecutor
Mimi Aguglia ... Mrs. Sabballera
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Storyline

Now grown-up, Johnny Columbo returns to New York from Italy having sworn a vendetta against the Black Hand who killed his father years earlier. Becoming romantically involved with a girl from school and meeting up with an honest cop also fighting the gangs, Columbo starts to wonder if there may be legal ways to defeat them. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 March 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Knife See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This was originally set up as a Robert Taylor vehicle. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Turn-of-the-century ethnic crime drama shows points of interest but falls short of potential
23 August 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

With its scenes of extortion and murder in the Italian-American community of Manhattan's Lower East Side at the turn of the century, The Black Hand inevitably calls to mind the flashbacks to young Vito Corleone's start in The Godfather, Part II. And while it's far from that league, there's much in The Black Hand to admire.

Eight years after the murder of his father, an Italian immigrant, for daring to oppose the criminal organization called The Black Hand (the script also calls it The Mafia and The Comorra), young Gene Kelly returns to New York to pursue his vendetta. With the help of police detective J. Carrol Naish, he tries to organize the tenement neighborhood to resist the reign of intimidation and terror. But the mob has moles who anticipate and thwart his every move. When Naish travels to Naples on the case, he's killed, but not before mailing an envelope of incriminating photos to Kelly. But the little brother of Kelly's girlfriend (Teresa Celli) is kidnapped, with the envelope serving as ransom....

Among the movie's admirable points are the thoughtful, rather restrained script and foreboding nightscapes, both in New York and Naples, which lend the film a noirish tinge (as do a couple of adroitly staged moments of suspense). But the story occasionally rambles off into rhetoric about the exploitation of the immigrant underclass by politicians and police – valid points, but not presented dramatically. Another dramaturgical shortcoming is that the many characters haven't been sufficiently individuated, leaving a generic ethnic muddle. The romantic angle is oddly subdued, too. The Black Hand shows signs of an interesting and ambitious production that nonetheless falls somewhat short of what it might have been.


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