The Mob (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Parrish|
|Produced by||Jerry Bresler|
|Screenplay by||William Bowers|
by Ferguson Findley
|Music by||George Duning|
|Edited by||Charles Nelson|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$1,050,000 (US rentals)|
The Mob is a 1951 film noir crime thriller film directed by Robert Parrish and starring Broderick Crawford as a hard-nosed cop who infiltrates the Mob in order to bust their illegal dockyard activities. The actor Charles Bronson makes one of his first film appearances as a longshoreman and was uncredited.
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Johnny Damico (Broderick Crawford), a detective going home in the rain one night, he finds himself just a few feet from a shooting on a dark street, where the gunman claims to be a detective from another precinct, flashing a real badge—and then slipping away. Damico discovers that the victim of the shooting was a witness who was to have appeared before a grand jury investigating waterfront crime, and that the same man who shot him also murdered the chief investigator on the case just a few hours earlier (which is where the badge came from).
Damico could lose his job, but instead he's given the chance to redeem himself—he's sent undercover and given a new identity as New Orleans tough-guy Tim Flynn, who insinuates himself onto the New York waterfront when he arrives on ship. He manages to hook up with union thug Joe Castro (Ernest Borgnine) and his strong-arm man Gunner (Neville Brand), who try to frame him for a murder that also gets a potential stoolie Culio (Frank DeKova) out of the way and that hooks Damico up with crooked police sergeant Bennion (Walter Klavun) who arrests him. After following one blind alley involving a federal agent Thomas Clancy (Richard Kiley) working as a longshoreman, Damico manages to get an intro to Blackie Clegg (Matt Crowley).
- Broderick Crawford as Johnny Damico
- Betty Buehler as Mary Kiernan
- Richard Kiley as Thomas Clancy
- Otto Hulett as Police Lt. Banks
- Matt Crowley as Smoothie, the bartender
- Neville Brand as Gunner, Castro henchman
- Ernest Borgnine as Joe Castro
- Jean Alexander as Doris Clancy
- Walter Klavun as Police Sgt. Bennion
- Lynn Baggett as Peggy Clancy
- Ralph Dumke as Police Commissioner
- John Marley as Tony
- Frank DeKova as Culio
Film Noir: The Encyclopedia Reference to the American Style notes "Crawford takes the simple role of Johnny Damico and converts it into a noir characterization of toughness and vulgarity."
Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the acting and wrote, "The Mob covers the same territory as On the Waterfront [filmed three years after The Mob]. It is adapted from the novel Waterfront by Ferguson Findley and directed with a flair for lively action scenes by Robert Parrish. This ordinary minor film noir holds together until one twist too many turns it into one of those old movie theater chapter serial-like endings ... Broderick Crawford is believable in this heroic role and moves his character into a noir figure by his hard-boiled, no-nonsense approach to the dangerous situation, where he's not in control of his destiny. Ernest Borgnine has the natural look of a shady individual to give his role a sinister force. Neville Brand as a strong-arm enforcer for Borgnine adds to the violent atmosphere. The film has fistfights, tough talking thugs and cops, and a bleak view of the corrupt docks. The brutality of both the criminals and the police is what gives the film its shock value and special feel. Otherwise it's your ordinary violent crime film."
To trace the mob car, they use a fluorescent dye that drips on the road, so the police can spot where they are going, yet they have the car wired for sound.