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  • It's amazing to find a buzzword cult movie of the 1960s so utterly neglected 50 years later. True, "Roger Touhy, Gangster" was not numbered among the top ten, but it would certainly have made the 1960s' top thirty. Originally filmed as a 95-minute "A" feature and given a great publicity boost with an elaborate in-prison premiere in 1943, the movie came unstuck when the Hays Office demanded that 32 minutes be jettisoned. Although the events depicted all occurred in Touhy's real-life criminal career, the censors objected that this still gave no license to Fox to show such brutality on the screen. In order to placate the Hays Office, Fox made the cuts and then shot an extra two minutes with the Warden of Statesville Prison as an Epilogue. Even so, the movie still packs quite a punch in its shorn version. Director Robert Florey has handled his big-budget scenes with considerable flair. But while some scenes stagger the eye with their generous budget, other episodes (re-takes, perhaps?) have obviously been filmed on the cheap with some of the most incredible skimping ever perpetrated by a major studio.
  • AAdaSC21 March 2010
    Roger Touhy (Preston Foster) and his gang are sent to jail for the kidnap of Joe Sutton (William Post Jr) thanks to the evidence given against them by former gang member 'Smoke' Reardon (Henry Morgan). A few years later, Reardon turns up in the same prison. Uh-oh. Touhy makes an escape with his gang but do they get away with it?

    The cast are good, especially 'Troubles' (Frank Jenks), 'Owl' (Victor McLaglen) and Carroll (Anthony Quinn) as likable gang members. The film plays out at a good pace and whilst it is the story of a true life gangster, the events are not necessarily true to life. For example, although Touhy went to prison for kidnap, he was not actually involved in the crime and later released. The film portrays him as leading a kidnap. The facts don't matter (unless you are Roger Touhy) as it is a good story anyway. One minor criticism is that the film is quite dark in parts and difficult to make out. Still, I'm glad I bought it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had never heard of Roger Touhy until I began to study crime films of the 1940's and came across the New York Times while printing out pages from the newspaper advertisement pages. I did not realize until much later that he was indeed a real life person accused of kidnapping and allegedly innocent. Preston Foster Place him here, and it is very apparent that the point of view of this film is that he was guilty.

    This film has five sections: the dramatization of the kidnapping of William Post Jr., the way that to he and his gang are caught (quite ironically), the trial (with the appearance of a surprise witness), showcase jail term and escape (only shown briefly) and the aftermath. It obviously has been made more dramatic to make it more cinematic, and that turns it into a tall tale rather than a movie biography.

    But for the type of film it is, it's entertaining even though it has cliches of a post narration (which turns it into a crime does not pay extended short) pictures of fine supporting cast including Victor McLaughlin, Anthony Quinn and Harry Morgan, although there's not enough time devoted to creating real characters, just snippets of who these people are supposed to be. That makes it uneven overall and a passable programmer which probably attracted some attention at that time for its unique expressionalism, but today, it just seems melodramatic and somewhat outlandish.