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Brian Donlevy and Gene Lockhart spearhead an interrogation of dangerous criminal Forrest Tucker in HOODLUM EMPIRE.


for holier-than-thou political grandstanding aimed directly at concerned parents. When address- ing Pignatalli, the ridiculously sanctimonious Senator Tower (Gene Lockhart) laments, “...You had slot machines all over the city. In stores opposite schools. Chil- dren lost their lunch money. Why, you even had boxes put in front of the machines so that the little ones could step up high enough to put their money in...there’s none more evil than one who robs, exploits and corrupts the innocent mind of a child...” Such postur- ing rings phony and self-serving, even when directed at the most dangerous member of the syndi- cate. HOODLUM EMPIRE wraps up on an equivalent note, with a firm call to action and appeal to our sense of moral decency and


civic responsibility. Is Kane adopt- ing the same position as Senator Tower? Sure seems that way, but there are problems with that as- sumption given the general dy- namic of this and most other gangster films. Ultimately, evil is punished and goodness is recog- nized, but the narrative in its en- tirety must be considered. Who would be more fun to hang out with, Mancani and his crew, or the cardboard-stiff senate committee? The bad guys ultimately may pay for their sins, but their lives up to that point are more exciting and financially rewarding than most of us ever will experience. The Mancani character was patterned after Italian gangster Frank “the Prime Minister” Costello. George Raft reputedly declined the role of Mancani


rather than portray a character based on his old friend. The Czechoslovakian Ralston was the spouse of Republic head Herbert J. Yates, a distinction that landed her quite a few screen roles de- spite her limited acting ability. Though still an undeniably beau- tiful woman, Trevor looks a bit older than someone likely to have been romantically entangled with the Gray character. The B&W im- age is framed at 1.33:1, although the packaging claims the original theatrical ratio of 1.37:1. Scenes that feature the criminal environ-


ment have a noir flair courtesy of cinematographer Reggie Lanning (WAKE OF THE RED WITCH, SANDS OF IWO JIMA). Only minimal artifacts are apparent on the source material. There are no supplemental features.


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