A Commander receives a citation for an attack on General Erwin Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved, as the Commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers.
Andrew Morton is an attorney who made it out of the slums. Nick Romano is his client, a young man with a long string of crimes behind him. After he lost his paycheck gambling, hoping to buy his wife some jewelry, she announced she was pregnant, Later he finds her dead from suicide. When he turns again to robbery he's caught by a cop and Nick pumps all his bullets into him in frustration. Morton's appeal to the court emphasizes the evils of the slums.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Humphrey Bogart offered Marlon Brando the role of Nick Romano, even visiting him backstage at a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire". Brando lost interest but loved Nick's coda: "Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse." See more »
In court, when Morton stands up for the first time, he puts both hands in his pockets. The next shot shows him with only his left hand in the pocket. See more »
I could still teach you a few, kid. You're just a tin-horned thug and you always will be. You haven't got the guts to be anything else!
See more »
This is indeed an odd flick and I assume Bogart agreed to star in it because it more closely represented his real-life political and social beliefs. Because of this, it appears to be a sincere effort--unfortunately, it just doesn't grab the viewers. I assume that MANY who saw it in 1949 were VERY disappointed because instead of the tough guy Bogart, he is a lawyer who decries the evils of slums and how it produces career criminals. This social crusader Bogart must have REALLY gone over well with those who wanted the tough guy! My problem is that blaming society is too easy an answer and that really turned me off as I watched. Plus the rhetoric was just too ridiculous and over-the-top. Secondly, it just didn't convince me--if Derek's character or the events leading up to the crime were better written, I might have gone along with the premise. As it was, Derek WAS a punk and deserved to be severely punished. The film would have been MUCH better if the attempts to gain sympathy for the criminal had been deserved. Sure, he had a tough life, but ultimately, he executed a cop and was a menace. This connection and empathy just isn't there--as the writers did a lousy job of creating a flawed character worth saving--Derek was not worth the crusade. So overall, a slightly worse than average flick, though for Bogart a sincere effort but a miss nevertheless.
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