Released – February, 1955
Directed By – Joseph H. Lewis
Starring – Cornel Wilde (Lt. Leonard Diamond), Richard Conte (Mr. Brown), Brian Donlevy (Joe McClure), Jean Wallace (Susan Lowell).
Description – The Most Startling Story The Screen Has Ever Dared Reveal!
Mr. Brown is a bad man, so bad that the level of evil that he practices has consumed Police Lt. Diamond. Prosecuting Brown has tormented Diamond so much that it has become personal. Adding to the problem is the fact that Lt. Diamond is dangerously obsessed with Susan Lowell the gangsters captive girlfriend.
Lt. Diamond’s crusade to bring an end to the sadistic gangster has cost the department thousands. The cost, along with the lack of results, has forced the department to order Diamond to put an end to his efforts.
In a last ditch effort to obtain evidence against Brown, Lt. Diamond plans to try and get the necessary information from Susan Lowell, Lowell’s attraction to Brown seems morbidly associated with his pleasure in inflicting pain.
She has also felt the abuse of the gangster, and when finally having had enough attempts suicide. Found by Lt. Diamond and brought to the hospital she utters the name “Alicia.” Diamond believes that this is the name of Brown’s wife, thought to have been dead for years.
While Diamond works this new lead, Mr. Browns right-hand man Joe McClure is planning to use two of Brown’s henchmen to kill Brown so that he can take over the criminal operation. The plan backfires as the henchmen remain loyal to Brown and it is McClure who ends up dead.
Unless Diamond can find Mr. Brown’s wife and get her to testify against him it looks like the mob boss is untouchable.
NOTABLE: Jack Palance was originally set to play the role of Mr. Brown, but after having differences with the producers he left the production. However, before doing so he suggested Richard Conte for the role.
Off-screen, Cornel Wilde and Jean Wallace were a married couple.
In a rare display of violence for its time, a hearing aid is used to torture Lt. Diamond with amplified sound leaving no bruises or marks of any kind.
Personal Note: A top-notch film noir with great camera work and lighting. Jean Wallace does an excellent job as the gangsters girl caught somewhere between good and evil.
Richard Conte is great as Mr. Brown presenting a menacing evil. Here are a couple of his quotes: Upon finding out that Diamond is investigating him – “Joe, tell the man I’m gonna break him so fast, he won’t have time to change his pants. Tell him the next time I see him, he’ll be in the lobby of the hotel, crying like a baby and asking for a ten dollar loan. Tell him that. And tell him I don’t break my word.”
When speaking regarding why Lt. Diamond will never get him and just what makes him the better man – “What makes the difference…? Hate! Hate is the word, Benny! Hate the man that tries to beat you. Kill ’em, Benny! Kill ’em! Hate him till you see red, and you’ll come out winning the big money, and the girls will come tumblin’ after. You’ll have to shut off the phone and lock the door to get a night’s rest.”