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When Gangland Strikes (1956)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 March 1956 (USA)
Faced with blackmail, a town's prosecutor intentionally throws the case of a big-time mobster.


R.G. Springsteen


John K. Butler (story and screenplay), Frederick Louis Fox (story and screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Raymond Greenleaf ... Luke Ellis
Marjie Millar Marjie Millar ... June Ellis
John Hudson ... Bob Keeler
Anthony Caruso ... Duke Martella
Marian Carr ... Hazel
Slim Pickens ... Slim Pickett
Mary Treen ... Emily Parsons
Ralph Dumke Ralph Dumke ... Walter Pritchard
Morris Ankrum ... Leo Fantzler
Robert Emmett Keane ... Judge George Walters
Addison Richards ... Mark Spurlock
John Gallaudet ... Charles Clark aka Chip Martin
Paul Birch ... Sheriff Mack McBride


A big-time gang leader's trial is moved to a small town. The town's prosecutor discovers that the gangster knows about a secret the prosecutor has been trying to keep hidden, and threatens to expose it unless the prosecutor deliberately throws the trial. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


IT COULD HAPPEN IN ANY TOWN!...Anyone can be the innocent victim...(original print ad) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Shot in the Dark See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Remake of Main Street Lawyer (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Crime programmer with homespun roots harks back to Judge Hardy and looks forward to TV
7 January 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

The title - and the first few minutes - of When Gangland Strikes promise a rough slice of urban criminality. It's a promise that goes largely unredeemed, because the movie mellows down and sweetens up into a homespun, small-town story that might almost have been made in the 1930s as a vehicle for Lewis Milestone's Judge Hardy.

Raymond Greenleaf, who played many a judge himself in small, post-war movies, is the prosecuting attorney in the idyllic hamlet of Rosedale, and known for his leniency toward petty lawbreakers. But a smartly engineered change of venue brings mobster Anthony Caruso into town to stand trial for murder; in his possession is a letter proving that Greenleaf's daughter (Marjie Millar) is in fact the child of a woman serving a life sentence who recently died. Family values win out, and Greenleaf deliberately bungles the prosecution, leading to a petition for his recall.

His successor and future son-in-law (John Hudson) decides to reopen the case and, in consequence, a jumbo can of worms involving both his bride-to-be and Greenleaf's complicity in throwing the trial. It also brings Caruso back into the picture, this time with fatal results....

Viewers will recognize a cast of familiar faces with unfamiliar names from bit-parts on both big and little screens (Richard Deacon and Slim Pickens among them). It betrays the influence television was having on movies in the climactic courtroom confrontation, which would become a staple of the Perry Mason series to debut the following year. When Gangland Strikes, with its cluster of generic supporting characters and its morally reassuring world, could almost have been the pilot for a TV series that never got off the ground. Who knows? Maybe it was.

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