THE GEORGE RAFT STORY
(director: Joseph M. Newman; screenwriters: Crane Wilbur; cinematographer: Carl Guthrie; editor: George White; music: Jeff Alexander; cast: Ray Danton (George Raft), Margo Moore (Ruth Harris), Jayne Mansfield (Lisa Lang), Julie London (Sheila Patton), Barrie Chase (June Tyler), Frank Gorshin (Moxie Cusack ), Neville Brand (Al Capone), Brad Dexter (Bugsy Siegal), Joe de Santis (Frank Donatella), Jack Lambert (Jerry Fitzpatrick), Barbara Nichols (Texas Guinan), Robert Strauss (Frenchie), Argentina Brunetti (Raft’s mom); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ben Schwalb; Warner Brothers (Allied Artists); 1961)
“Unconvincing and dull fictitious biopic on George Raft.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Unconvincing and dull fictitious biopic on actor-dancer George Raft, that’s shot in b/w. Director Joseph M. Newman(“This Island Earth”/”The Big Circus”/”Dangerous Crossing”) just goes through the motions. The screenplay by Crane Wilbur never gets to who is the real Raft.
In the 1920s, the ambitious lad from NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, George Raft (Ray Danton), is a dancer and gigolo in Manhattan’s Dreamland. To pick up extra dough, George becomes a driver for bootlegger nightclub owner Frenchie (Robert Strauss). When George protects cigarette girl Ruth Harris (Margo Moore) from being mauled by a gangster (Jack Lambert), he finds he’s no longer in with the racketeers led by Frankie Donatella (Joe de Santis). The gangster advises him to leave town for Hollywood and the movies. Raft’s big break comes in 1932, playing a coin tossing gangster in Scarface. Though now moving in Hollywood circles and getting good parts, Raft befriends gangster such as Al Capone (Neville Brand) and “Bugsy” Siegel (Brad Dexter). Still living the good life, his star fades and he loses his luxury Hollywood home. After losing his Havana casino because of Castro’s revolution, Raft returns to Hollywood and in his comeback plays a gangster in 1959’s Some Like It Hot.
Barrie Chase, Margo Moore, Julie London, Barbara Nichols and Jayne Mansfield (meant to be Betty Grable) play some of the glamor gals Raft was linked to.
All the real names concerned with Raft are changed, and there’s no mention of his marriage. The result is a shoddy film, and when there’s no dancing it looks tired.
REVIEWED ON 6/27/2015 GRADE: C+