Resolute DA determined to break the hold held by the non elected (but would later be the Mob). All very earnest gritty Asphalt Jungle influenced tale moves along at a fair lick. Not really a Noir or a semi documentary, very studio bound but not unwatchable, Bogart holds centre stage in nearly every scene, it wouldn't hold together without him.
This is definitely one of the best films Humphrey Bogart made during the 1950's, and it can even compete with some of his great movies from the 1940's. Bogart is superb as the inspector who has to find proof to keep a killer, who's about to be discharged from jail, locked up. Looking back over the evidence and several testimonies he's trying to find a clue that was overlooked at first.
Highly recommended to any fan of Bogart and/or crime stories.
"The Enforcer" was directed by Bretaigne Windust (and Raoul Walsh, uncredited) in 1951 and starred Humphrey Bogart in the lead role as a District Attorney attempting to send a crime organization boss to the chair. Its loosely based on an organization, dubbed Murder Inc. by the press, who in the 1930's and 40's performed contract killings for the mob in the New York area. It is believed that they performed hundreds of such 'contracts'. "The Enforcer" is a gritty crime film with strong elements of film noir in many scenes which follows the investigation through a series of flashback sequences which is similar to Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) and The Killers (Siodmak, 1946). While the direction is a bit rough around the edges, relying on some docu-noir techniques in many scenes, it is however an engaging film. What is interesting about this film and what makes it a somewhat menacing film is the weapons of choice in this organization: Knives and Icepicks. While you don't actually see any of the killings, it is implied and that makes it all the more menacing.
This is a good film and should appeal to fans of gangster films and film noir of the period.
The DVD transfer is not brilliant but it doesn't show any major damage.
Finally after lots of hard work, Assistant D.A. Martin Ferguson has a good case against Murder Inc big wig, Albert Mendoza. But while Mendoza is in jail, the man lined up to testify against him loses his nerve and falls to his death, thus leaving Ferguson little to no time to rebuild a case against the crime lord.
The Enforcer is based upon the whistle blowing of one Abe Reles. Who opened eyes up to an organised crime mob called Murder Inc. Fusing that period of history with the subsequent Kefauver Committee investigations that followed Reles' reveals, The Enforcer is a tough and gritty picture that many view as the key switch from Noir into the grizzled crime obsessed 1950s. At the time of writing this I have yet to have it confirmed, but it's thought that this Bretaigne Windust directed picture is the first mainstream picture to deal with the complexities of organised crime? Certainly the dialogue is now common speak (courtesy of Martin Rackin (Riffraff (1947), but back in 1951 it surely would have raised eyebrows and intrigued the watching public.
Excellently photographed in stark black and white by Robert Burks, who of course is well known to Hitchcock devotees, the picture positively seeps with an underworld vibe, perhaps even coming into the realms of being documentary in structure. Starring Humphrey Bogart (Ferguson), Everett Sloane (Mendoza) and the excellent, and wonderfully named, Zero Mostel (Big Babe Lazich), it's also thought that Raoul Walsh had quite a hand in the final product. This to my knowledge, is still unconfirmed, but when viewing the picture as a whole, it certainly boasts the feel of Walsh's better known pictures. Highly engrossing and a template movie of sorts, The Enforcer is definitely one to catch if at all possible. 7.5/10
This is a Bogart classic, combining his usual hard as nails persona with a typical 40's documentary style. It might not be Bogeys' best film, or the best gangster film you'll ever see, but for fans of the genre it's an interesting and entertaining film. Bogart plays the D.A (hence the terrible bow tie presumably- gangsters and detectives never, ever wear bow ties in the movies) on the trail proffessional killers in the mobs' hey day, but as with most of these films the plot is no-where near as important as the style; and this film has that in abundance. Viewers should watch out for a host of the usual faces among the secondary cast including a very youthful Zero Mostel, who went on to be the man who staged 'Springtime for Hitler,' in Mel Brooks' 'The Producers,' appearing against type here as a trainee hit-man. Overall, a good film for fans of Bogart, ganster movies and a great film for fans of Bogart IN gangster movies, but just a little stilted for the casual viewer.
This film,at the beginning I though wasn going to be good because looked too old but I was surprised to discover totally the opposite. Good plot,quality transfers,if you are big fan of Bogart and Noir genre do not hesitate and buy it!