I, Mobster (1959)

80 mins | Drama | February 1959

Director:

Roger Corman

Writer:

Steve Fisher

Cinematographer:

Floyd Crosby

Production Designer:

Daniel Haller

Production Company:

Alco Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's title card reads: "Edward L. Alperson presents I, Mobster ...The Life of a Gangster." The opening cast credits appear in a different order from the closing credits. Although the Var review lists the character played by Grant Withers as "Joe Moran," he is called "Paul Moran" in the film. Although a May 1958 DV news item states that the novel Mobster was written by an anonymous author, the film and copyright credits list the author as Joseph Hilton Smyth.
       Lili St. Cyr was a well-known striptease dancer whose "bubble bath" act, in which she emerged from a bath tub nude, is incorporated into the film. The camera cuts away from her nude body to the reaction of the audience. Modern sources add Dick Miller, Frank Wolff, Walter Maslow and Dave Tomack to the ... More Less

The film's title card reads: "Edward L. Alperson presents I, Mobster ...The Life of a Gangster." The opening cast credits appear in a different order from the closing credits. Although the Var review lists the character played by Grant Withers as "Joe Moran," he is called "Paul Moran" in the film. Although a May 1958 DV news item states that the novel Mobster was written by an anonymous author, the film and copyright credits list the author as Joseph Hilton Smyth.
       Lili St. Cyr was a well-known striptease dancer whose "bubble bath" act, in which she emerged from a bath tub nude, is incorporated into the film. The camera cuts away from her nude body to the reaction of the audience. Modern sources add Dick Miller, Frank Wolff, Walter Maslow and Dave Tomack to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 May 1959.
---
Daily Variety
21 May 1958.
---
Daily Variety
29 Dec 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
30 Dec 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 58
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 58
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jan 59
p. 108.
Variety
14 Jan 59
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Edward L. Alperson Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Exec asst
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel I Mobster by Joseph Hilton Smyth (New York, 1951).
SONGS
"Give Me Love" and "Lost, Lonely and Looking for Love," music and lyrics by Edward L. Alperson, Jr. and Jerry Winn, sung by Jeri Southern.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1959
Production Date:
mid July--mid August 1958
Copyright Claimant:
Alco Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 December 1958
Copyright Number:
LP12718
Physical Properties:
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19153
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Joe Sante, the head of a national crime syndicate, is subpoenaed to testify by the Senate Rackets Committee in Washington, he invokes his Fifth Amendment rights. As the senators continue to interrogate Joe, his mind drifts back to the start of his life in crime, when he was an eleven year old collecting bets for Black Frankie Udino, the neighborhood syndicate boss: Joe gets into a fight with Cherry-Nose, one of the local punks, and comes home with his nose bloodied, causing his mother concern. Joe has contempt for his immigrant father, whom he resents for being unable to support the family, and consequently vows that he will be "top man one day." Joe grows up quickly, and one day after he steals a cargo of drugs, Frankie offers him a job in "collections." Claiming that he has a lucrative job delivering medicine, Joe buys his beloved mother a set of new furniture. At a street party one night, Joe meets Teresa Porter, a neighborhood girl, and asks her to dance. When Joe roughly grabs her, Teresa protests that she is a "good girl" and pulls away, and Joe apologizes for his crude behavior. Later, the police come to the party to arrest Joe. After Joe is sentenced to a year in prison, Frankie promises to support his mother during his absence. Upon his release, Frankie sends for Joe and hands him the cash that Mrs. Sante has refused. When Joe demands more money and a bigger cut, Frankie tests his loyalty by ordering him to kill Cherry-Nose's brother. During his mother's welcome home party, Joe excuses himself ... +


When Joe Sante, the head of a national crime syndicate, is subpoenaed to testify by the Senate Rackets Committee in Washington, he invokes his Fifth Amendment rights. As the senators continue to interrogate Joe, his mind drifts back to the start of his life in crime, when he was an eleven year old collecting bets for Black Frankie Udino, the neighborhood syndicate boss: Joe gets into a fight with Cherry-Nose, one of the local punks, and comes home with his nose bloodied, causing his mother concern. Joe has contempt for his immigrant father, whom he resents for being unable to support the family, and consequently vows that he will be "top man one day." Joe grows up quickly, and one day after he steals a cargo of drugs, Frankie offers him a job in "collections." Claiming that he has a lucrative job delivering medicine, Joe buys his beloved mother a set of new furniture. At a street party one night, Joe meets Teresa Porter, a neighborhood girl, and asks her to dance. When Joe roughly grabs her, Teresa protests that she is a "good girl" and pulls away, and Joe apologizes for his crude behavior. Later, the police come to the party to arrest Joe. After Joe is sentenced to a year in prison, Frankie promises to support his mother during his absence. Upon his release, Frankie sends for Joe and hands him the cash that Mrs. Sante has refused. When Joe demands more money and a bigger cut, Frankie tests his loyalty by ordering him to kill Cherry-Nose's brother. During his mother's welcome home party, Joe excuses himself to go to his room, sneaks out the back window and guns down his victim. When Joe slips back into his room, Teresa's younger brother Ernie sees him stash his gun in a dresser drawer. Thus having proved himself, Joe organizes his own gang and soon reaches the status held by Frankie. At a swank party, Joe is welcomed by syndicate head Paul Moran. Moving from collections to strike breaking, Joe is installed in the same offices as Frankie, which he redecorates to give them "class." One day, Joe is visited by Teresa, who tells him that his mother would like him to come home and make peace with his gravely ill father before the old man dies. When Teresa asks if Joe killed a man on the night of the party, Joe reacts with hostility. Dubbing himself a "labor relations expert," Joe launches a cross country campaign of terror against union workers, brutalizing those who refuse to pay protection money. After his father dies, Joe offers to move his grieving mother uptown, but she remains loyal to her husband's memories and accuses Joe of feeling no pity or love for anyone. At the gathering following the funeral, Joe learns that Teresa's family is destitute and offers Ernie a job, although he detests the boy. After Joe ascends to Moran's level, thus surpassing Frankie's power, Teresa comes to his apartment to beg for a job as a bookkeeper because her mother is bedridden, her family hungry. When Joe learns that Ernie has spent his earnings on drugs, Joe and Frankie soundly thrash the boy for failing to respect his mother. After becoming Joe's bookkeeper, Teresa learns that all his mother's friends are on his "charity list," thus proving that Joe has an altruistic side. One night, Ernie comes to Joe's office and tells him that he has made copies of Teresa's books and will turn them over to Cherry-Nose to give to the police unless Joe pays him extortion money. When Joe reminds Ernie that this would implicate Teresa in his criminal organization, Ernie shrugs indifferently and Joe, furious, slaps him. Just as Ernie pulls his gun, Teresa enters the office and begins to struggle with her brother. In the ensuing chaos, Joe shoots Ernie, and after her brother falls to the floor, dead, Teresa flees the office. After Cherry-Nose informs the police that Teresa was an eyewitness to her brother's mysterious disappearance, she is questioned by the district attorney. When Teresa swears that Ernie left Joe's office alive, the district attorney knows she is lying but releases her because she would prove a more credible witness at trial than Cherry-Nose. Later, Teresa appears at Joe's apartment door, dressed in a provocative low-cut dress, and confesses that she is in love with him. When Joe protests that he does not want to turn her into a gangster's moll, Teresa passionately kisses him. One night, Frankie warns Joe that Moran has authorized him to kill Joe. Uncertain about whether Frankie has accepted the assignment, Joe anxiously fingers his gun until Frankie hands over his own weapon and advises him to take care of Moran. After Joe shoots Moran in the back, Cherry-Nose exposes him as the new crime boss. As Joe is handed a subpoena, his mother appears at his apartment to denounce him as godless. After Joe's thoughts return to the present, the hearing is adjourned for the weekend. Knowing that he is about to be indicted, Joe accepts a pair of fake passports from Frankie so that he and Teresa can flee the country. After Frankie agrees to see them off at the pier that evening, Joe arranges a convoy to escort them to the docks. As they climb into a cab, however, Joe notices that the convoy has dropped out and that Cherry-Nose is tailing them. Near the docks, Joe jumps out of the cab and is chased by his pursuers. In the ensuing gunfire, Joe kills his assailants but is hit by a bullet. Teresa takes the wounded Joe back to his apartment, where Frankie is waiting. As Joe realizes that Frankie has set him up, Frankie matter-of-factly states that Joe has become a threat to the syndicate, and then icily guns him down. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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