Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Mob (1951)

Director: Robert Parrish

Starring: Broderick Crawford, Betty Buehler, Richard Kiley, Otto Hulett, Matt Crowley, Neville Brand, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The coldest crew since "The killers"

Plot: Police detective Damico, outwitted by mob killer Blackie Clay, is nominally suspended; actually he goes undercover (as Tim Flynn, ex-con longshoreman) to find Clay and expose the waterfront rackets. In character, Damico throws his weight around so much that the mobsters try to get rid of him; surviving this, he begins to realize that few of those around him are what they seem.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah!

#3 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 6

THE MOB is a very good noir gangster picture with a memorable performance by Broderick Crawford. I've seen very little of his work, a spaghetti western and a sword & sandal picture, and remember his powerhouse performance from ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949) but had forgotten how strong of a presence he had. He barrels through this picture like a mad bull, firing his dialogue fast and furious and taking shit from no one.

(L to R) Borgnine, Brand, Crawford (seated) and ?
That's a lot of testosterone for just one room.
If Bronson had shown up, it would have exploded.

It's a good thing Charles Bronson (his third picture) only had a couple of lines of dialogue and no reason to kill Crawford because if he had, it'd be curtains and the picture would be over. Crawford probably didn't know how close he came to greatness...the greatness of being defeated by Badass Charles Bronson!

THE MOB moves fast and before you know it, this 87 minute ride has come to a stop. There are lots of fun performances and great crime faces (hardly anyone in this picture is attractive in the Hollywood sense). Director Parrish did a fine job bringing everything together (his second directorial effort). He was one of the directors of CASINO ROYALE (1967). The only other films he directed that I've seen are the excellent JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (1969) and a so-so spaghetti western called A TOWN CALLED HELL (1971) which wasn't so great despite the top notch casting. THE MOB is a good picture and it's more than entertaining enough for anyone remotely interested in film noir, crime, gangster movies or Badass Charles Bronson.

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