The Mob (1951)

Broderick Crawford, Betty Buehler, Richard Kiley, Otto Hulett,
The Mob is a movie starring Broderick Crawford, Betty Buehler, and Richard Kiley. Johnny Damico botches a murder case and is suspended from the force. In reality, he is put undercover to identify the mysterious boss of the NY...
  • 7.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • William Bowers, Ferguson Findley, Writer:
  • Robert Parrish, Director:
  • Jerry Bresler, Producer:

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7 / 10

Bartenders Know Everything

Broderick Crawford is terrific as a police detective going undercover as a longshoreman. The film begins with Mr. Crawford, while off-duty, investigating a shooting; when he arrives, he's told to watch the victim by another detective - only to be left holding the victim (so to speak). After his "error", he is assigned to undercover as longshoreman at a mob-infested dock, and locate dangerous mob boss "Blackie".

On the docks, the film really takes off - the story gets very exciting, with hardly a misstep. The camera is a sharp match for the players and script. Note, Ernest Borgnine throws a swell party. Broderick says "Oh, please?" like he was born yesterday. "The Mob" has enough twists and turns to keep the interest brewing... to a tight ending.

******* The Mob (1951) Robert Parrish ~ Broderick Crawford, Richard Kiley, Ernest Borgnine

8 / 10

Strong Cast of Unknowns Helps Good Crawford Programmer

The title of this review says it all. In 1951, who knew who Ernest Borgnine, Richard Kiley and Charles Buchinsky were? But in this Columbia noir, made after Broderick Crawford became an unlikely star because of ALL THE KING'S MEN has the lead going undercover to investigate racketeering on the docks, we see how good actors can overcome a basically decent script overloaded with 'snappy' dialog, cheap sets and unexceptional directing. The actors are, frankly, amazing and this is as good as a movie can get with a major flaw like this -- ace DP Joseph Walker can't do much with the studio sets and back projection, but he makes a good effort with a highly mobile camera.

7 / 10

Broderick Crawford Making the Docks Safe for Us All

Off duty police detective Johnny Damico (Broderick Crawford) lets a killer slip through his hands after witnessing a mob hit. Damico is given a chance to redeem himself by going undercover to break up a waterfront crime racket and find the kingpin that ordered the hit. Damico under the assumed identity of small time New Orleans hoodlum Johnny Flynn, infiltrates the docks to find the 'big guy' known only as Blackie Clegg. Along the way Damico comes across an assortment of characters played by, at the time, relatively unknown actors like Ernest Borgnine, Neville Brand, Richard Kiley, and John Marley. Look for Charles Bronson in one of his earliest screen appearances in an uncredited role as a dock hand.

Director Robert Parrish works what might have been routine police procedural crime drama into an edge of the seat mystery. A lot of the credit has to be given to writer William Bowers who Parrish teamed up with on his previous movie Cry Danger starring Dick Powell. Both enjoy a fast paced script with tongue in cheek banter, hinting of the same style that Bowers would use almost twenty years later when he wrote the script for Support Your Local Sheriff! While an actor like Powell would seem better suited for this type role, Crawford just off an Oscar win for All the Kings Men two years before, comes off surprisingly natural as a wise cracking undercover cop.

The Mob though listed as film noir really isn't noir in the classic sense though it does have some of the elements. The Mob is an enjoyable 1950's style mystery crime drama. The run time of 87 minutes breezes by and keeps you guessing. Fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

9 / 10

Realism With Panache

I saw The Mob at Cinevent in 2013 and it was the best film of the weekend. This tight noir is filled with great one-liners and unexpected twists.

Broderick Crawford plays a cop who goes undercover as a hoodlum to try to take down a crime ring. We constantly question whether he is totally legit because his mouth is just as tough as the criminals' he's working to put in jail. The story keeps moving and if you blink you might miss something, but the plot never quite gets away from the viewer. This is realism done with panache. It is unfortunate that this movie has had no formal release because it is certainly worth seeing.

8 / 10

The Damico Dilligence.

The Mob is directed by Robert Parish and adapted to screenplay by William Bowers from the novel written by Ferguson Findley. It stars Broderick Crawford, Betty Buehler, Richard Kiley, Otto Hulett, Matt Crowley, Neville Brand, Ernest Borgnine and Jean Alexander. Music is by George Duning and cinematography by Joseph Walker.

Cop Johnny Damico (Crawford) is fooled by a mob killer during the slaying of a witness and is chastised by his superiors. Sent undercover to infiltrate the waterfront organisation to flush out the killer, Damico faces danger at every turn.

He's a cop who is hell bent on atoning for what could basically be a career ruining error. It's this core essence that really oils the pistons of this tough and under seen slice of crime cinema. Awash with characters so shifty it's hard to locate a moral compass in the mix, director Robert Parrish (Cry Danger) takes a standard under cover plot and elevates it to a riveting tale of corruption, paranoia and the search for redemption at any cost.

William Bowers' script positively pings with the sort of dialogue you could cut a joint of beef with, with most of it spat from the mouth of the excellent Crawford. No matter what the situation, what the danger, Damico has a quip or a put down to always exude a calm and carefree menace, he literally is a sardonic miserablist who is unflappable. It's a wonderful characterisation that's helped enormously by a screenplay that contains some surprises, with a nifty plot line standing out that sees Damico hired by the mob to enact a hit on himself! Wonderful.

Parrish keeps the atmosphere side of things on the boil, always ensuring that Damico could be snuffed out at any moment, while Walker's (The Velvet Touch) photography is tight to the plotting. Around Crawford are a raft of familiar faces from film noir, with the villain roll call considerably boosted by Borgine and Brand. From the quite excellent opening murder played out in the nighttime rain, story unfolds in a whirl of sarcasm, set-ups, machismo, stand-offs and mobster machinations. The Mob, under seen and under valued, add it to your "to see lists", especially if you be a fan of Brod Crawford. 8/10