Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1960. Princess Production Corporation. Screenplay by Irve Tunick, Mel Barr, based on the book by Burton Turkus, Sid Feder. Cinematography by Gayne Rescher. Produced by Burt Balaban. Music by Frank De Vol. Production Design by Richard Sylbert. Costume Design by Bill Walstrom. Film Editing by Ralph Rosenblum.
Peter Falk made a name for himself, deservedly, in this excellent crime drama that plays out in an almost documentary-like fashion. Stuart Whitman is trying to stay straight to please his new wife (May Britt) but is leaned on by Falk to join their killer crime syndicate. Initially hoping to keep Falk happy while Britt remains unaware of his activity, Whitman is eventually found out and Britt decides to turn to the law for help. The film gives ample opportunities so see the points of view of both criminal and lawmaker, features excellent photography and sterling direction that pays proper tribute to the factual origins of its story. Based on the book by Burton Turkus, who is portrayed in the film by Henry Morgan. Look for a terrific cameo by Sarah Vaughan as a nightclub singer, and bit parts by very young Vincent Gardenia, Seymour Cassel, Sylvia Miles and Diane Ladd as a dancing girl.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Peter Falk)