The Mob (1951) Robert Parrish
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III DVD (1:27)
On his way home on a rainy night, police detective Johnny Damico (Broderick Crawford) comes across a man with a gun standing over another man who’s obviously dead. Damico pulls his own gun and draws on the man standing who says he’s a cop, offers Damico his badge, and disappears to call in the shooting. When Damico discovers the man’s a phony, he knows he’s in trouble, big trouble.
To redeem himself, Damico is ordered to go undercover, getting a job on the New York waterfront docks in order to uncover mob activity. As you might expect, Damico encounters a bit of resistance in the form of a union nasty (Ernest Borgnine), the nasty’s enforcer (Neville Brand), a stool pigeon (Frank DeKova) and more. Plus he’s trying very hard not to blow his cover.
The Mob has been compared to On the Waterfront, although The Mob came first, so I suppose you could say On the Waterfront should be compared to The Mob, which is a no-nonsense crime/noir with great action scenes and a wonderful performance by Crawford.
The William Bowers screenplay (based on the 1951 Ferguson Findley novel Waterfront) crackles with great dialogue and all the actors absolutely nail the characters. Do yourself a favor and seek this one out.
Next time: Douglas Sirk directs a real-life husband and wife playing a husband and wife
Photos: Where Danger Lives, Classic Hollywood Quotes, The Movie Scene