Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pretty Boy Floyd (1960)

Director: Herbert J. Leder

Starring: John Ericson, Barry Newman, Joan Harvey, Peter Falk, "Grandpa" Al Lewis

More Info: IMDB


Plot: Trying to shake his troubled past and start a new honest life, Floyd loses his job because of that past. With nowhere to go but back home in Oklahoma he gets news that his father's been murdered and the local sheriff lets the killer off with a self-defense plea. Bent on revenge, Floyd does what he must which leads him down a dark road littered with robbing banks and loose women. Floyd's final days are anything BUT pretty!

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Yeah

I'm a HUGE fan of gangster pictures going way back to when I first saw THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931) as a kid. The Warner Bros gangster pictures from the 30s-50s are lots of fun and all of them offer something to enjoy. And they're usually violent (for their time) and hard-edged. PBF, a non-WB picture, is a low-budget gangster biopic that works.

It has a lot of the conventions of it's day like the serious narration with dialogue like, "He got away with murder. He liked it. It gave him kicks." There's some neat camera shots, too, along with some great cool jazz by William Sanford and Del Sirino. The rise and fall of Floyd is a fun ride with some great gun play, bank robberies and some extras along the way.

Nicely! Nicely!

There must be something about slapping dames that has to be in all of these pictures. I watched this the night after seeing MACHINE-GUN KELLY (1958) with Charles Bronson and they both had the slap scene when the broads just pushed them too hard. I guess in order to be a good little gangster you had to be able to smack women around. Personally, I think real power is being able to get the women to slap themselves.

"Go ahead. Kiss me...HARD!"

John Ericson does OK in the lead role. He's not that bad but then he's not that great, either. For an Oakie, he's got no accent whatsoever and it's even more obvious when he's shares the screen with his Friend back home in Oklahoma, Curly (played by Carl York) who nails the accent to the back wall of the barn.


The MAGNIFICENT Peter Falk shows up, owning every scene he's in. He's so much fun as the tough guy badass, Shorty Walters. Too bad he's only around for about 15 minutes. What a pisser. It could have used more of him.

"Grandpa Munster" Al Lewis is here playing the gangster, Machine Gun Manny. It's so hard to shake him from his MUNSTERS role. What an ugly-ass fella he was. Ugh. He looked old at twenty. He gets Floyd mixed up in some mafia business that doesn't turn out well.

There's a mafia boss trial that follows that is so laughable it hurts. The three guilty parties stand in front of the three bosses (seated) for their trial. The accused leave the room and return, one by one, when the verdict and punishment is to be administered. If you are to be punished (which means death) the gun on the table will be pointed at you when you walk in. For Machine Gun Manny, the gun is pointed at him and he freaks. But it's not over yet. Each of the three bosses must kiss the gun before the punishment is meted out. Yeah, like I'm sure this how they really did it. It's a scream.

I could have easily given this an 8 if they had a more charismatic actor for Floyd but he's helped a bit by a fun supporting cast of actors that know their stuff. Falk is definitely a highlight. I watched a TV rip and, to my knowledge, there is no DVD of this. Set your DVR's and watch this one. It's fun and has some cheese factor but it's also quite good and entertaining. I will gladly watch this again sometime.

No comments:

Post a Comment