5.6/10
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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

Mary Charlotte Wilcox as Mary Wilcox received an 'introducing' credit. 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

[Lepke's last words before the FBI takes him in for questioning.]
Lepke: Call Bernice. Tell her I'm gonna be a little late for dinner.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Curtis rocks
23 January 2012 | by Fred_RapSee all my reviews

Brutal, straightforward bio-pic of the notorious Jewish gang boss. Writers Wesley Lau and Tamar Hoffs tell their sprawling story with fidelity to the headlines and nary a hint of what made this complicated mobster-cum-family man tick. (Curiously, there's never a mention of Lepke's infamous Murder Inc. operation, opting instead to concentrate on his drug trafficking and extortion enterprises.) Luckily, Tony Curtis' riveting performance fills in what the writers' have neglected, transforming Lepke Buchalter into a disturbingly three-dimensional character. Tossing off Yiddishisms with a sneer, keeping his impish smile to a minimum, he plays Lepke as a stone-faced ruthless street thug with a yen for power and conservative family values. It's as though Sidney Falco from "Sweet Smell of Success" had finally taken over J.J. Hunsecker's column. Whether snarling out death orders or tremulously asking his prospective father in law for permission to marry, Curtis invests the role with a skillful understatement (as well as a Bronx boy's veracity).

In the film's best scene, a queasy mixture of eroticism and complex emotions, Lepke is on the lam and holed up in a trollop's apartment. As the woman brazenly tempts him, Curtis silently and eloquently conveys the anguish of a lonely man struggling to remain faithful to his wife.

The director Menachem Golan is rarely this subtle, striving for ethnic texture and period color and overdoing both. Grubby hook-nosed Jews, swarthy pasta-eating Italians, and outsize Fedoras are shoved in our face. The violence is luridly overblown (a prostitute gets an ice pick thrust in her neck during lovemaking), and sometimes downright preposterous (a plate of spaghetti camouflages an explosive device). But just try to turn away from Curtis. With Anjanette Comer as Lepke's doting wife; Milton Berle, surprisingly restrained as her father; Barry Miller as the young Lepke; Vaughn Meader as an unlikely Walter Winchell.


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