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Police detective Joe Leland investigates the murder of a gay man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs.
Based on the true-life book of lawman Burton Turkus, this movie chronicles the rise and fall of the organized crime syndicate known as Murder, Incorporated. Focusing on powerful boss Lepke and violent hitman Reles.Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
Stuart Rosenberg was originally hired to direct the movie. Because of a Screen Actors Guild strike, which occurred from March 7-April 18, 1960, Rosenberg left the project and was replaced by the film's producer Burt Balaban. See more »
When Joey and Abe are being kept under wraps by the police in a hotel awaiting their trial, the camera shows the exterior window of Joey's room first (on the left) then pans right to show the exterior of Abe's room (to the right of Joey's). Shortly thereafter, when Turkus walks down the hall from Abe's room to Joey's room, it becomes apparent that the configuration is just the opposite. As the drama transpires, it's confirmed that Abe's room was indeed the one on the left. See more »
How much truth there is in this "true story" with "real people" is a question best left to historians of organized crime. The subplot of Stuart Whitman ("Joey") and May Britt ("Eadie") as a loving couple caught up in nasty doings certainly seems like the stuff of fiction. In any case, this is a low-budget "B" picture with limited resources for portraying the 1930s setting and documenting the historical events with authentic detail.
The one extraordinary element in the movie is the performance by Peter Falk as a contract killer. He is not only completely believable in the role but downright original, giving us a character who is merciless and vicious yet quick to take offense if anyone finds this objectionable. He can sound plaintively sincere even as we quickly come to see that he is incapable of sincerity. He has a host of minor quirks and tics that are fun to watch.
Face it, evil can be fascinating and even attractive, in a disturbing way. Another example in this movie is the portrayal of crime kingpin Louis "Lepke" Bucholter by David J. Stewart. While certainly not achieving the high level of Falk's performance, Stewart shows real style as the milk-drinking mobster.
There is one other bonus in this film: Sarah Vaughan, looking young and pretty, sings a nice song with that inimitable voice.
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