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The Enforcer (1951)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 24 February 1951 (USA)
A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Dist. Atty. Martin Ferguson
... Big Babe Lazick
... Joseph Rico (as Ted De Corsia)
... Albert Mendoza
... Capt. Frank Nelson
... James (Duke) Malloy (as Lawrence Tolan)
... Sgt. Whitlow
... Herman (as Robert Steele)
Adelaide Klein ... Olga Kirshen
... Thomas O'Hara
... Tony Vetto
... Vince
... Philadelphia Tom Zaca
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Storyline

After years of pursuit, Assistant D.A. Martin Ferguson has a good case against Murder, Inc. boss Albert Mendoza. Mendoza is in jail and his lieutenant Joseph Rico is going to testify. But Rico falls to his death and Ferguson must work through the night going over everything to build the case anew. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They called him The Enforcer (poster). See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tiger  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After several days of filming, director Bretaigne Windust fell seriously ill and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Humphrey Bogart asked his old friend, director Raoul Walsh, to come in and shoot the picture until Windust recovered. Unfortunately, Windust was more seriously ill than most realized, and his recovery took several months, during which Walsh finished the film. However, Walsh refused to take screen credit for it, saying that the picture was Windust's big break and he wasn't going to take it away from him. See more »

Goofs

Near the middle of the film the two young women are talking with each other outside in front of a house. After their conversation one of them walks toward the street. As she walks almost out of the picture you can see the shadow of the camera move across her body. See more »

Quotes

[Big Babe Lazich has just been invited to join Rico's gang. While he is waiting, he notices that Rico is always on the phone]
Babe Lazich: Who calls him on the phone?
Philadelphia Tom Zaca: If you're a good swimmer, you can ask the guy who found out. He's at the bottom of the river.
[He grins]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Confess (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Kiss Me Sweet
(uncredited)
Written by Milton Drake
Played over the sidewalk loudspeakers
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User Reviews

 
The Racket That Pays Best
26 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

Although the star of the film in terms of first billed in The Enforcer is Humphrey Bogart, the film's main character is Ted DeCorsia in what is probably his best screen performance.

Taking a lot of inspiration from Citizen Kane, District Attorney Humphrey Bogart and his two police investigators, Roy Roberts and King Donovan try and piece back together a case against Everette Sloane who has started a new racket, murder for profit. The chief witness is Ted DeCorsia who after an attempt on his life, falls to his death while trying to escape from a window.

After DeCorsia's demise the night before the trial was to commence, Bogart and Sloane start listening to hours of tape from several witnesses to see if they can salvage the case. Like Charles Foster Kane's life, the story of the racket is told in flashback through the tapes.

DeCorsia is the main character because all roads lead to him as the number two guy, but only he can finger Sloane. DeCorsia is seen as the frightened witness and also as the tough racketeer. It's almost two characters in the same film, but DeCorsia delivers on both.

Everette Sloane is one chillingly evil villain. He's decided to sell the services of killers to those who need them. To other racketeers and to outsiders as well. No motive, the police can't track down the ] perpetrators. The words of this racket, like 'contract' and 'hit' are all familiar terms now, but then it was something fairly new.

Bogart's function is like the reporter{s} who pieced together the life of Charles Foster Kane. It's essentially passive, he's one of the few people whoever played a District Attorney in films who never got a courtroom scene. But in the end, frantically trying to find and protect a crucial witness, he becomes quite proactive to say the least.

Of course this is all borrowed from the stories about Murder, Inc. and it was familiar to the movie going public. But The Enforcer is a really taut crime drama that never lets your interest flag.

It's so good that I can almost forgive a major plot flaw. Through some gross stupidity on Bogart's part, Sloane realizes there's a witness out there who can nail him and he takes appropriate steps. I can't see in real life how that could have happened.

Still The Enforcer is a personal favorite of mine for Humphrey Bogart films and I think you'll like it too although when you see it you will see what Bogey did that almost blew the whole case.


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