The film focuses on the war of two gangs in 1930s Harlem for the control of illegal gaming - one headed by black strategic godfather Bumpy Johnson and another by white ruthless hothead Dutch Schultz. Negotiations proposed by white syndicate boss Lucky Luciano never get under way, blood flows and Johnson gets jailed. When Johnson is paroled, he gets the work of enforcer for mighty Stephanie "The Queen" St. Clair. She is also jailed for racketeering and when she leaves she makes him promise "no violence".Written by
Dutch says to Lucky: "I'm going to the library. I'm going to take out that book "How to #*%& friends and irritate people." Here he is parodying the popular self-help book by Dale Carnegie, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Published in 1936 and an instant best-seller, the book would have been discussed widely in social circles during the time of the film, hence why Lucky smirked when he heard the joke. See more »
It seems to me like in today's film world, critics, whether it be Ebert or the viewers, are quick to down a film if it has a large budget. I think Hoodlum fell victim to this epidemic. With a bankroll of wonderful actors and actresses, and some of the best historical recreation of the locations, the movie delivers. The plot was simple, but it doesn't need to be complicated in a gangster flick like this. It was based on real people, so the creators of the film cannot go ballistic on changing the story. Maybe the 'critics' would like it better if it had a little green man who uses the force, or maybe a future crime prevention device. Well, you won't find this here. It's a wonderful, semi-true story about the way things were in Harlem and the surroundings areas back then. Fishburn turned in a wonderful performance, and Roth played a great villian as he always does. Just relax, and take it for what it's meant to be. Entertainment.
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