(director: Robert Florey; screenwriter: Richard Landau/story by Damon Runyon; cinematographer: Lucien Andriot; editor: Frank Sullivan; music: Louis Forbes; cast: Pat O’Brien (Martin Martin), Wayne Morris (Dane Cory), Dolores Moran (Lily White/“Beautiful Mama”), Gayle Reed (Elsie), Jack Overman (Lippy), Raymond Largay (Lawbooks), Harry Bronson (Freddy), Donald Woods (Veterinarian), Lawrence Cregar (Ambrose); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Benedict Bogeaus; United Artists; 1950)
“An outdated and corny Damon Runyon gangster tale.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An outdated and corny Damon Runyon gangster tale. Robert Florey (“The Crooked Way”/”Monsieur Verdoux “/”The Beast with Five Fingers”) can’t help keeping it a blend of violence and sentimentality. Richard Landau keeps the screenplay flat despite the action.
Five years ago “The Dutchman,” a NYC hood stole $50,000 from his partners, Dane Cory (Wayne Morris) and Martin Martin (Pat O’Brien). While fleeing on a ferry, the partners kill him and dump his body overboard. While in his Park Avenue penthouse, Martin receives a visit from his lawyer he nicknamed Lawbooks” (Raymond Largay), tipping him off the cops are coming to arrest him for the murder. Martin immediately escapes. He knows his partner Cory, now a show promoter, already accepted a plea bargain deal from the DA if he points the finger of guilt at Martin. Martin shows up at the theater where Cory has an office and tries plugging him, but instead hits Freddie (Harry Bronson), Cory’s henchman, and in return fire is wounded. Martin staggers to the apartment of Lily White (Dolores Moran), Cory’s girlfriend, and watches her interact with Cory from a nearby condemned building. When Cory punches around Elsie’s dog, she’s Lily’s daughter, the dog flees and joins Martin at the condemned building. Because of his condition, Martin names the dog Johnny One-Eye.
It concludes with both partners killing each other, and before dying Martin makes sure Elsie gets the $10,000 reward he had on his head.
REVIEWED ON 4/12/2016 GRADE: C+