Hoodlum Empire (1952)

98 mins | Drama | 15 April 1952

Full page view
HISTORY

The onscreen title card reads: " Hoodlum Empire : A Bob Considine Story." The story, told mostly through a series of flashbacks, was written by Hearst-syndicated feature writer Bob Considine and was based on a series of exposés on racketeering he wrote for the International News Service. The articles described the U.S. Senate Crime Investigating Committee Hearings, which were chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver in 1951.
       According to a Dec 1950 HR news item, Republic rushed the story into production after gangland slayings occurred in Los Angeles. The same item also stated that Joseph Cotten was tentatively cast in a leading role as a law enforcement officer, but he did not appear in the final film. According to an Aug 1951 LAEx news item and early HR production charts, George Raft was cast, but he was not identifiable in the viewed print.
       Some Italian-Americans were offended by the Italian surnames of the gangster characters, according to a Mar 1952 Var news item, and the Var review observed that several main characters closely resembled real people involved in the Kefauver hearings. The HCN review commended the film for showing how average citizens aid organized crime in America by participating in seemingly innocent gambling activities. For more information on the Kefauver Investigation, see the entry below for the 1951 Twentieth-Century Fox production The Kefauver Crime Investigation , which contains actual footage of the ... More Less

The onscreen title card reads: " Hoodlum Empire : A Bob Considine Story." The story, told mostly through a series of flashbacks, was written by Hearst-syndicated feature writer Bob Considine and was based on a series of exposés on racketeering he wrote for the International News Service. The articles described the U.S. Senate Crime Investigating Committee Hearings, which were chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver in 1951.
       According to a Dec 1950 HR news item, Republic rushed the story into production after gangland slayings occurred in Los Angeles. The same item also stated that Joseph Cotten was tentatively cast in a leading role as a law enforcement officer, but he did not appear in the final film. According to an Aug 1951 LAEx news item and early HR production charts, George Raft was cast, but he was not identifiable in the viewed print.
       Some Italian-Americans were offended by the Italian surnames of the gangster characters, according to a Mar 1952 Var news item, and the Var review observed that several main characters closely resembled real people involved in the Kefauver hearings. The HCN review commended the film for showing how average citizens aid organized crime in America by participating in seemingly innocent gambling activities. For more information on the Kefauver Investigation, see the entry below for the 1951 Twentieth-Century Fox production The Kefauver Crime Investigation , which contains actual footage of the hearings. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Mar 1952.
---
Daily Variety
19 Feb 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Dec 1950.
---
Film Daily
27 Feb 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
12 Mar 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1951.
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Feb 52
p. 15.
Los Angeles Examiner
29 Aug 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Feb 52
p. 1246.
New York Times
5 Mar 52
p. 33.
New York Times
6 Mar 52
p. 25.
Variety
12 Mar 52
p. 3, 13
Variety
20 Feb 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
SOURCES
SONGS
"God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand," music by George W. Warren, lyrics by Daniel C. Roberts.
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 April 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 5 March 1952
Production Date:
17 September--mid October 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 January 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1686
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
98
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15607
SYNOPSIS

When a highly publicized congressional inquiry into mob control of gambling activities, which targets kingpin Nick Mancani, subpoenas Nick's nephew, Joe Gray, whom Nick reared as a son, Nick must restrain Charley Pignatelli, his violent second-in-command, from killing Joe before he talks. Nick's insistence that Joe not be killed unless "absolutely necessary" is heard by Connie Williams, a long-time family friend residing with Nick. Connie eavesdrops from their New York penthouse study, where a desk is rigged with a tape recorder and a listening device to the room below. Later, when the investigation, which is headed by Senator Bill Stephens, begins at New York City's Federal Building, Charley is sworn in. Following Nick's instructions, Charley at first appears to cooperate, but feigns ignorance about Joe's activities by claiming that he heard Joe, who has been living in Central City since the war, has taken war buddies as partners. A spectator sitting next to Joe, the blind Rev. Simon Andrews, silently reminisces about how he first met Joe during the Normandy invasion when he served as chaplain to his Central City National Guard outfit: Joe, a city kid who is drafted into the National Guard, is at first disdainful of the "appleknockers," but comes to respect them. A French farm girl, Marte Dufour, rescues Joe when he is injured, and Joe is contemplating a life with her in Central City when Simon is blinded by a shell and sent home. Simon awakens from his reverie to find the investigators still questioning Joe's Central City businesses. As Charley's testimony continues, strong memories surface in Connie, who is watching the telecast of the hearings: When Joe returns a war hero, she assumes ... +


When a highly publicized congressional inquiry into mob control of gambling activities, which targets kingpin Nick Mancani, subpoenas Nick's nephew, Joe Gray, whom Nick reared as a son, Nick must restrain Charley Pignatelli, his violent second-in-command, from killing Joe before he talks. Nick's insistence that Joe not be killed unless "absolutely necessary" is heard by Connie Williams, a long-time family friend residing with Nick. Connie eavesdrops from their New York penthouse study, where a desk is rigged with a tape recorder and a listening device to the room below. Later, when the investigation, which is headed by Senator Bill Stephens, begins at New York City's Federal Building, Charley is sworn in. Following Nick's instructions, Charley at first appears to cooperate, but feigns ignorance about Joe's activities by claiming that he heard Joe, who has been living in Central City since the war, has taken war buddies as partners. A spectator sitting next to Joe, the blind Rev. Simon Andrews, silently reminisces about how he first met Joe during the Normandy invasion when he served as chaplain to his Central City National Guard outfit: Joe, a city kid who is drafted into the National Guard, is at first disdainful of the "appleknockers," but comes to respect them. A French farm girl, Marte Dufour, rescues Joe when he is injured, and Joe is contemplating a life with her in Central City when Simon is blinded by a shell and sent home. Simon awakens from his reverie to find the investigators still questioning Joe's Central City businesses. As Charley's testimony continues, strong memories surface in Connie, who is watching the telecast of the hearings: When Joe returns a war hero, she assumes he is also returning to her, until he tells her about his engagement to Marte. Nick proudly shows Joe the changes made in the organization--his "inheritance"--which has grown to a multimillion-dollar syndicate that hides its activities behind respectable businesses. To Nick's surprise, Joe announces he is "going legit," but before leaving for Central City, Joe promises never to tell what he knows. Back at the hearings, Charley subtly implicates Joe in gang activities by pretending to cover for him. After the hearings are adjourned for the evening, Charley, who doubts Joe will keep quiet under pressure, abducts him, but Nick arrives in time to prevent his murder. In a fatherly way, Nick tells Joe that he is being set up as a fall guy to keep him from talking, but in consolation says it is better than being executed. At the next session of the hearings, Connie is called to the stand, but as she still loves Joe, fails to implicate him as directed by Nick and Charley. Nick testifies next, and is asked about his knowledge of gambling activities in Central City. One of Charley's henchmen watching in the courtroom remembers when the gang moved into Central City: Joe refuses to have slot machines in his own businesses, which surprises his former cronies until Charley explains how Joe, being the boss of the whole operation, has to appear squeaky clean. Continuing his testimony, Nick perjures himself by saying that he last saw Joe just after the war. As Joe anxiously watches the hearing, he is flooded with memories: At Stephen's campaign party, the politician refuses Joe's show of support and accuses him of owning several gambling establishments in Central City. Surprised by the accusation, Joe checks around and learns that his name is forged on canceled checks and other records of several unscrupulous businesses. Unable to free himself from his past, Joe wants to leave town, but Marte, fearing an unrooted existence, convinces him that their friends would speak on their behalf, if needed. After the session ends that evening, Joe bemoans to Marte and his closest friend Simon how he cannot cooperate with the committee for fear of reprisal from the gang. He also knows his silence will be taken as evidence of association and guilt, and given all the forged documents implicating him in gangland activities, the committee would never believe his innocence. Later, without Joe's knowledge, Simon confronts the mobsters at the penthouse, threatening to tell what he knows unless they publicly clear Joe of their crimes. In response, Charley pushes Simon down an elevator shaft. When Simon's "accidental" death is reported, Joe shows up at the penthouse and accuses Nick and Charley of murder. As the tension in the room escalates, Connie, who is again eavesdropping from the study, turns on the tape recorder and calls Stephens to send help for Joe. She tells the senator about the recording that she is secretly making which contains admissions of guilt and proof of Joe's innocence. She runs downstairs to prevent Joe's execution, but is killed by the raging Nick. In the ensuing struggle, Nick is accidentally shot to death just before the arrival of the police, who arrest Charley. Convinced by the evidence on the recording, Stephens apologizes to Joe at the next session and clears his name. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.