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Force of Evil

Force of Evil

John Garfield
Director: Abraham Polonsky Cast: John Garfield
John Garfield
, Thomas Gomez
Thomas Gomez
, Marie Windsor
Marie Windsor
Abraham Polonsky

Blu-ray (Remastered / B&W)

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John Garfield, in the best performance of his career, portrays Joe Morse, an ambitious attorney who has long since abandoned his scruples in favor of monetary reward. Morse now represents the interests of crime boss Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts), who plans to take over the numbers racket in New York. Morse has devised a way of doing this legally and above-board, with no violence: Tucker's people will bring about the collapse of the illegal numbers racket in the city, using a race track-betting scam that will bankrupt the small-time underworld numbers banks; an investigation will ensue, along with a call for a legal numbers operation in the form of a lottery, which Tucker will control through Morse's machinations. The whole plan hinges on Morse's estranged brother, Leo (Thomas Gomez), a small-time numbers banker who is to be shielded from the collapse, and who will serve as the "legitimate" front for Tucker. Leo is the flaw in the plan, however, because not only can't he stand the sight of Joe, but he is also too honest to participate in the plan -- he doesn't want his employees, all decent people just looking to earn a living, forced into the employ of real gangsters. Joe orchestrates a series of police raids that force Leo into his corner, and Joe's plan seems to be working out, but then the whole enterprise is threatened when a rival mob, run by Tucker's former Prohibition-era partner, Fico (Paul Fix), starts pressuring Leo, trying to get to Joe and Tucker. Fico and his men aren't any different from Tucker's mob, except that they're prepared to start shooting sooner to get what they want. Tucker decides to hang tough and expects everyone, including Leo, to do the same, even when Fico starts sending thugs around to frighten everyone. Soon Joe is beset by problems on three fronts -- he wants his brother out of Tucker's combination and safe; he is trying to romance Leo's bookkeeper (Beatrice Pearson), who is too nice a girl for who he is; and his own well-being is threatened by both Fico and Tucker, and a state investigator who has already tapped the phone of Joe's otherwise respectable partner. All of these threads are pulled together in the final section of the film, which is as violent and disturbing, yet poetic and graceful a resolution as any crime film of the 1940s ever delivered. Force of Evil was star-crossed almost from the start, as many of the people involved, including star John Garfield and director Abraham Polonsky (a writer making his debut behind the camera, with help from assistant director Don Weis in doing the camera set-ups and blocking), were suspect at the time for their leftist political views. Indeed, the company that made Force of Evil, Enterprise Productions, was also in trouble for the leftist leanings of its films in the midst of the Red Scare, and went out of business just as the movie was finished -- dropped by United Artists and picked up by MGM, of all studios, Force of Evil made it into theaters during Christmas week of 1948, not the ideal schedule for something as grim (albeit great) as this film was. As it turned out, it was Polonsky's last chance to direct for more than 20 years, and Garfield's last completely successful film. And a movie that should have been a triumph for all concerned ended up a cult favorite.

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Product Details

Release Date: 07/31/2012
UPC: 0887090045407
Original Release: 1948
Source: Olive
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Time: 1:18:00
Sales rank: 21,897

Special Features

Martin Scorsese movie classics introduction of Force of Evil

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Garfield Joe Morse
Thomas Gomez Leo Morse
Marie Windsor Edna Tucker
Roy Roberts Ben Tucker
Beatrice Pearson Doris Lowry
Howland Chamberlain Freddy Bauer
Paul McVey Hobe Wheelock
Jack Overman Juice
Tim Ryan Johnson
Barbara Woodell Mary
Raymond Largay Bunte
Stanley Prager Wally
Beau Bridges Frankie Tucker
Allen Mathews Badgley
Barry Kelley Egan
Sheldon Leonard Ficco
Georgia Backus Sylvia Morse
Sid Tomack "Two & Two" Taylor
Jessie Arnold Actor
Margaret Bert Actor
Mildred Boyd Mother
Ralph Brooks Actor
John Butler Banker
John Collum Actor
Bert Davidson Attorney
James Davies Actor
Jim Drum Actor
Jay Eaton Actor
Joel Fluellen Father
Richard H. Gordon Actor
Sherry Hall Actor
William H. O'Brien Dancer
Arthur O'Connell Link Hall
Edward Peil Counterman
Bob Reeves Actor
Shimen Ruskin Sorter
Carl Sklover Actor
Bobby Stebbins Norval
Diane Stewart Girl
Robert Strong Court Reporter
Jim Toney Actor
Robert B. Williams Elevator Starter
Margo Woode Receptionist
Fred Somers Actor
Roger Cole Actor
Carl Hanson Actor
Richard Elmore Actor
Louise Saraydar Hatcheck Girl
Ray Hirsch Newsboy
Paul Fix Ficco
Murray Alper Comptroller
Sam Ash Man
Bert Hanlon Cigar Man
Bill Neff Law Clerk
Frank Pharr Bootblack
Joe Warfield Collector
Perry Ivins Mr. Middleton
Cliff Clark Police Lieutenant
Phil Tully Policeman
Paul Newlan Policeman
Max Wagner Policeman
Chuck Hamilton Policeman
Carl Saxe Policeman
George Magrill Policeman
Ralph Dunn Policeman
Bud Wiser Policeman
Brick Sullivan Policeman
Ray Hyke Policeman
Jimmie Dundee Dineen
Douglas Carter Man
Milt Kibbee Richards
Esther Somers Mrs. Lowry
Mervin Williams Goodspeed
Frank O'Connor Bailiff
David McKim Cashier
William Challee Gunman
Joey Ray Gunman
John Indrisano Henchman
Stanley Waxman Manager
Estelle Etterre Secretary
Helen Eby-Rock Secretary
Mickey Rooney Boy
Paul H. Frees Elevator Operator
Richard Reeves Policeman
Larry Blake Detective
Budd Fine Butcher
Charles Evans Judge
Will Lee Waiter
Dave Fresco Gunman

Technical Credits
Abraham Polonsky Director,Screenwriter
Robert Aldrich Asst. Director
George Barnes Cinematographer
Jack Baur Casting
Edward Boyle Set Decoration/Design
Richard Day Art Director
Gus Norin Makeup
Rudolph Polk Musical Direction/Supervision
David Raksin Score Composer
Bob Roberts Producer
Art Seid Editor
Walter Thompson Editor
Frank Webster Sound/Sound Designer
Louise Wilson Costumes/Costume Designer
Ira Wolfert Screenwriter

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