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The Racket (1951)

The Racket 1951 poster.jpg

There were a number of tough movies made about the mobs in the early 1950s when state-wide investigations were taking place in real life. This was the second version of Bartlett Cormack’s play which had originally included director John Cromwell in its Broadway cast in the late 1920s and was his calling card for Hollywood where he made some excellent movies. This starts off slowly but brings together two of the screen’s great actors, Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan, squaring off against each other in a wonderful ensemble featuring Lizabeth Scott (whom Cromwell had directed opposite Bogart in Dead Reckoning) in a showy role as a singer, Ray Collins as a crooked DA, William Conrad as a gravel-voiced cop playing both ends against the middle and William Talman as an ambitious cop whose desire for publicity gets him on the wrong end of gangster Ryan’s gun.  With Mel Ferrer, Nicholas Ray, Tay Garnett and Sherman Todd’s assistance, the film was finished while Cromwell was blacklisted from the business in one of the industry’s blacker periods. Cromwell’s son James would play the corrupt LAPD captain in LA Confidential, which is pretty ironic. Los Angeles’ streets never seemed so grim.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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