5.9/10
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King of the Roaring 20's: The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961)

The story of flamboyant Prohibition-era gangster, gambler and bootlegger Arnold Rothstein.

Director:

Joseph M. Newman

Writers:

Leo Katcher (book), Jo Swerling (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
David Janssen ... Arnold Rothstein
Dianne Foster ... Carolyn Green Rothstein
Jack Carson ... Timothy W. 'Big Tim' O'Brien
Diana Dors ... Madge
Dan O'Herlihy ... Detective Phil Butler
Mickey Shaughnessy ... Jim Kelly
Keenan Wynn ... Tom Fowler
William Demarest ... Henry Hecht
Regis Toomey ... Bill Baird
Robert Ellenstein ... Lenny
Tim Rooney ... Johnny Burke as Young Boy (as Timothy Rooney)
Murvyn Vye ... Williams
Jimmy Baird Jimmy Baird ... Arnold Rothstein as Young Boy (as Jim Baird)
Joseph Schildkraut ... Abraham Rothstein
Mickey Rooney ... Johnny Burke
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Storyline

Moving from one scam to another Arnold Rothstein quickly becomes rich, and settles into the life of owning big-town gambling joints. Along the way he falls in loves and marries, makes a life-long enemy of a cop on the take, and gradually becomes hardened even to his closest friends. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

KING OF GAMBLERS! OVERLORD TO BROADWAY! BIG FIX OF THE SPORTING WORLD! (original half-sheet poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

As Cartas Marcaram Sua Morte See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Jack Carson's final film before his death on January 2, 1963 at the age of 52. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
receptionist: [answers the telephone] International Tobacco. Yes. Just a moment, please.
Arnold Rothstein: [Rothstein hands a card to the receptionist] I'd like to see Mr. Simmons, please.
receptionist: Oh yes, you're expected. Go right in.
See more »

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User Reviews

Stodgy
6 November 2016 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

By 1961, splatter guns, bouncing flappers, and real gangsters of the 1920's were a hit on TV, especially with The Untouchables (1959-1963). So it's not surprising the formula would find its way into the movies. Real life gangster Arnold Rothstein (Janssen) gets the treatment here, except there're no splatter guns or much action, but there is lots and lots of talk. Spread out over nearly 2-hour time frame, that's a tough challenge for any 20's crime film. Then add Janssen's turn that's notably low-key and generally emotionless, and the upshot is a disappointingly listless crime film.

I guess the film is best taken as a character study built around a favorite Hollywood theme of one man's rise and fall on the ladder of success. The narrative's mainly about how slickly Rothstein maneuvers through the echelons of urban crime. There's some interest in his conniving, but the account gets draggy with too much slow pacing and mechanical editing. Then too, Dianne Foster's role as AR's ladylove further stretches out the narrative. It's like the producers are also using the movie to promote her career.

Anyway, Janssen was soon to star in that classic chase series The Fugitive (1963-67), where his thespic skills could really shine. On the other hand, I'm not sure what the producers were reaching for here, perhaps an abrupt departure from the Cagneys and Robinsons of old. But what they got instead was a sluggish result that now dwells in well-deserved obscurity.


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