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 <email@example.com>
Post 1950 police noir with flashbacks inside of flashbacks.
This is a perfect example of the typical post-1950 noir which tended to be told from the point of view of the police rather than the criminal so they are less existential than the classic pre-1950 noir. Blame it on the blacklist. Anyway, it retains the noir virtues of a simple story economically told and expressively photographed. Only the garishness of containing a super star and being directed, uncredited, by Raoul Walsh , lifts this film to 'A' status but in fact this is a 'B' picture all the way.
There are plot holes aplenty, cars which are fifteen years out of date, an unusually high body count and police procedures which would give the ACLU, if not the Supreme Court, apoplexy. That said The Enforcer is a lot of fun and a satisfying little picture. Connoisseurs of character actors will have a field day as the picture contains a who's who of heavies and henchmen.
THE ENFORCER is one of the few noirs with the hyper classic devise of a flashback inside of a flashback. In fact there are three of them. The body of the film is D.A. Humphrey Bogart and cop Roy Roberts reviewing their notes for a case against a murder for hire racket. During the review they recall the arrest Zero Mostel who tells a story about joining the gang of killers. Then they listen to a dying man who tells a story of a failed hit. In another flashback a man who we already know to be dead tells a story of the organizations first hit. There have been more convoluted flashback structures (there are some with flashbacks inside of flashbacks inside of flashbacks) but at least add THE ENFORCER to the list of noirs with flashbacks within flashbacks.
P.S. Ted de Corsia should either try to stay away from high places or else get a good pair of sneakers- c.f. THE NAKED CITY.
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