Newspaperman Bill Bradford becomes a special agent for the tax service trying to end the career of racketeer Alexander Carston. Julie Gardner is Carston's bookkeeper. Bradford enters ... See full summary »
Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Lawyer Joe Morse wants to consolidate all the small-time numbers racket operators into one big powerful operation. But his elder brother Leo is one of these small-time operators who wants to stay that way, preferring not to deal with the gangsters who dominate the big-time.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1994. See more »
When Joe's office is broken into, the cover to the safe is left open. When Joe goes into his office, the cover is closed. See more »
[referring to Joe]
Don't have anything to do with him, Leo. You're a businessman.
Yes. I've been a businessman all my life. And honest - I don't know what a business is.
Well, you had a garage... you had a real estate business.
A lot you know. Real estate business... living from mortgage to mortgage... stealing credit like a thief. And the garage - that was a business! Three cents overcharge on every gallon of gas: two cents for the chauffeur and a penny for me. Penny for one thief, two cents ...
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All existing copies of the film are of the version that was cut by 10 minutes in order to fit into a double bill. See more »
beyond film noir...a classic and pessimistic view of humannature
Superficially, "Force of Evil" can be considered a film noir and gangster movie. But it is so much deeper than that. The very bleak message I got from the film is that even decent people must submit to corruption to survive.
The character of Leo, superbly played by Thomas Gomez, is inherently honest and noble but he must live and work in the naturally shady numbers racket. He knows that he will be eventually crushed. This knowledge makes Leo one of the most bitter and tragic characters in film...a decent man whose life is dominated by futility.
The protagonist of the film, portrayed by John Garfield, is Leo's brother. He has ridden his job as a sleazy mob lawyer to a life of fame and ease. He has everything Leo doesn't. Yet despite his blustery banter, he,too,is uneasy with his position. He knows Leo is headed for disaster and pulls all the strings he can to protect him, even though Leo reacts to him with contempt. Their relationship is doomed by the corrupt methods both use to survive. Garfield's character finds redemption of a sort by the film's end but not before inevitable tragedy has struck.
There are many more levels to this complex film and discussion of them all could fill many pages. Above all, it is a beautiful movie,expertly directed with tremendous black and white imagery. The dialogue combines snappy patter with almost poetic sensibility. And the performances of all concerned are top notch. This is truly a treasure of cinematic art. Be prepared to think deeply when you watch it
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