The System (1953)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


The System (1953) Poster

Gambler John Merrick (Frank Lovejoy) is the head of a bookie syndicate and the newspaper is crusading against him and the rackets, primarily because Merrick is in love with Felice Stuart (... See full summary »


6.5/10
75

Photos


See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Lewis Seiler

Writers:

Jo Eisinger (screenplay), Samuel Grafton (story "Investigation"), Edith Grafton (story "Investigation")

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


8 March 2003 | bmacv
6
| Likeable Frank Lovejoy can't quite convince in '50s topical crime melodrama
Lewis Seiler's The System tries to have it both ways. It wants to show us that betting a couple of bucks on a horse with your neighborhood bookie feeds a mammoth and murderous syndicate. But then, too, it wants us to believe that its central character (Frank Lovejoy), who controls the syndicate's operations in a midwestern city hovering somewhere between the gravitational fields of Chicago and St. Louis, is at heart a pretty decent guy who'll do the right thing once destiny points out the error of his ways.

That's a pretty big chunk to swallow, but, once it's down, The System turns out to be fairly digestible, if on the bland side. It opens when a 19-year-old kid, armed with a water pistol, gets shot and killed by the police for burglary; he needed money to pay off his local book. An old newspaper man who knew the kid wants to run an exposé on the whole operation and nail Lovejoy; his publisher gives a cautious go-ahead, as Lovejoy is dating his daughter (Joan Weldon, a detachable accessory to the plot). Lovejoy pays a courteous visit to the reporter, whom he knows; both their sons are in college together. But the reporter sticks to his guns, and Lovejoy leaves him alone.

The storm of publicity, however, brings a Congressional investigation to town (making The System yet another '50s movie riding the coattails of the Kefauver Committee on Organized Crime). This so scares the big shots in Chicago that they send down some heavy artillery to protect their interests....

The movie's at its best in its many small roles for quirky players and in Lovejoy, a solid, likeable actor who gets a part that's hard to sell with any conviction. The System ends up being less film noir than topical crime drama, at once both somber and melodramatic (the interconnections among the characters, and some of the turns they take, are soap-opera baroque). But don't put any money on Lovejoy's living in a posh penthouse and buying a flashy roadster for his kid without getting his soul as well as his hands dirty; that's a sucker's bet.

Critic Reviews


More Like This

The Steel Trap

The Steel Trap

The Big Night

The Big Night

Chicago Calling

Chicago Calling

Three Secrets

Three Secrets

Intruder in the Dust

Intruder in the Dust

Meet the People

Meet the People

The Crooked Web

The Crooked Web

Force of Arms

Force of Arms

Night Editor

Night Editor

Julie

Julie

Pigskin Parade

Pigskin Parade

Variety Jubilee

Variety Jubilee

Did You Know?

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Details

Release Date:

18 April 1953

Language

English


Country of Origin

USA

Featured on IMDb

See what IMDb editors are watching this month, and visit our guides to what's on TV and streaming, video games, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com