(director: Gordon Douglas; screenwriters: Abby Mann/based on the novel by Roderick Thorp; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editor: Robert Simpson; music: Jerry Goldsmith; cast: Frank Sinatra (Joe Leland), Lee Remick (Karen), Ralph Meeker (Lt. Curran), Jacqueline Bisset (Norma MacIver), Lloyd Bochner (Dr. Wendell Roberts), Jack Klugman (Dave Schoenstein), James Inman (Teddy Leikman), Al Freeman Jr. (Robbie), Horace McMahon (Farrell), Tony Musante (Felix Tesla), Sugar Ray Robinson (Kelly), William Windom (Colin MacIver); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Aaron Rosenberg; 20th Century-Fox; 1968)
“The modest film questions city hall corruption, shoddy police work, police brutality, cover-ups and gay bashing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A big city crime drama directed by Gordon Douglas (“Lady in Cement”/”Viva Knievel!”/”Nevada Smith”). The modest film questions city hall corruption, shoddy police work, police brutality, cover-ups and gay bashing. Whatever voice the film had for reform back then, seems outdated when viewed today. It’s a dreary but well-acted, especially by Sinatra, tale based on the best-seller by Roderick Thorp. The violent, twisty, trashy script is by Abby Mann.
The cynical homicide detective Joe Leland (Frank Sinatra) investigates the grisly murder in Manhattan of a gay man, Teddy Leikman (James Inman), the son of a politically connected department store owner. The victim’s psychopathic former roommate, Felix Tesla (Tony Musante), is grilled by Leland and confesses. Tesla is soon executed, and Leland receives a promotion.
Norma MacIver (Jacqueline Bisset) visits the detective and the wealthy widow of an accountant mentions that she believes her husband (William Windom) was fatally pushed off a racetrack grandstand and did not accidentally fall as the police stated. When Leland attempts to reopen the case, he’s opposed by the police authorities. Following an attempt on his life, Leland examines MacIver’s files and discovers that the accountant was involved with the Borough Planning Commission in corrupt land speculation. Leland then breaks into the office of the dead man’s psychiatrist (Lloyd Bochner), even if illegal, and plays a recording where the accountant tells of being bi-sexual and killing Teddy after a night out together. The detective is sickened thinking that he put to death an innocent man and quits the force. Leland now plans to dedicate his life to being an activist to expose police and government cover-ups
REVIEWED ON 4/12/2016 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/