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Lepke (1975)

Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter is head of Murder Inc., the syndicate that spattered the headlines of the day with blood.

Director:

Menahem Golan
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter
Anjanette Comer ... Bernice Meyer
Michael Callan ... Robert Kane
Warren Berlinger ... Gurrah Shapiro
Gianni Russo ... Albert Anastasia
Vic Tayback ... Lucky Luciano
Mary Charlotte Wilcox ... Marion
Milton Berle ... Mr. Meyer
Jack Ackerman Jack Ackerman ... Little Augie
Louis Guss Louis Guss ... Max Rubin
Vaughn Meader Vaughn Meader ... Walter Winchell
Lillian Adams Lillian Adams ... Mama Meyer
Albert Cole ... Gross
Zitto Kazann Zitto Kazann ... Abe (Kid Twist) Reles
Johnny Silver ... Schwartz
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Storyline

Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter is head of Murder Inc., the syndicate that spattered the headlines of the day with blood.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He was the king of crime when crime was king.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Israel | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Big Boss See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

AmeriEuro Pictures Corp See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Tony Curtis with author Peter Golenbock revealed in Curtis' auto-biography "American Prince: A Memoir" (2008) that he became heavily addicted to cocaine during production of this picture of which this substance abuse would then last for around a decade. See more »

Goofs

For this same reason, Lepke would not have been called out of hiding to attend a meeting at Luciano's house. Lepke went into hiding in 1937 until 1939, and Luciano was in prison this entire time. See more »

Quotes

Bernice: Papa, I wish I was. I wish I was a whore. Then I could walk out of here with you. But I can't. I just can't leave him Papa. I love him!
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 20 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A compelling Lepke
29 September 2013 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The success of The Godfather films I and II certainly led to revival of the gangster film. Golan/Globus of Israel apparently decided that the Italians should not monopolize the epic gangster genre that The Godfather created so the film Lepke was born about the Jewish mob Murder Inc. from the 30s and 40s.

To say that Lepke is factual is to give it way too much credence. Though Thomas E. Dewey as special prosecutor and later New York County District Attorney certainly had Murder Inc under his sites the final conviction that sent Louis 'Lepke' Burkhalter to the electric chair was done in Murder Inc.'s own backyard of Kings County better known as Brooklyn. And Lepke was not the sole voice against a hit on Dewey, Charlie Luciano played here by Vic Tayback had more to do with it than Lepke. And Benjamin Siegel, AKA Bugsy who is a peripheral character in the film is addressed by one of his peers as Bugsy, as was told to us truthfully in Warren Beatty's film by one of his peers, that was one big no-no. It was name that Siegel did not appreciate.

Still Tony Curtis gives a compelling portrait of Lepke who when he wasn't dealing dope and extorting money from businesses for protection or muscling in on unions was by all accounts an exemplary family man. Anjanette Comer plays his wife and Milton Berle his father-in-law and Berle plays it totally straight, no Uncle Milty shtick.

Golan/Globus certainly got the ambiance right, but the fictional Corleones were given an epic quality that Lepke just doesn't have. Francis Ford Coppola certainly had a better vision than Golan/Globus had for Lepke.

But I would still recommend seeing Lepke and then reading about Murder Inc. to see just how factual the film was. And for what Tony Curtis did in the title role.


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