Illegal (1955)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


Illegal (1955) Poster

After an overly aggressive district attorney unknowingly sends an innocent man to the chair, he resigns, turns to drinking, and acquires a criminal clientèle.

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7/10
1,317

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  • Edward G. Robinson and Jayne Mansfield in Illegal (1955)
  • Jayne Mansfield in Illegal (1955)
  • Jayne Mansfield in Illegal (1955)
  • Edward G. Robinson and Max Wagner in Illegal (1955)
  • Nina Foch and Hugh Marlowe in Illegal (1955)
  • Edward G. Robinson and Jayne Mansfield in Illegal (1955)

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User Reviews


24 October 2011 | rpvanderlinden
9
| A Clever Man and a Wrong Move
"Illegal" is an intelligent and nimble little crackerjack of a crime thriller starring Edward G. Robinson as a D.A who's maybe a little too smart - and smart-assed - for his own good. He's ruthless because his job requires him to be. He wins cases. That's what he's paid for. He's quick of wit and tongue. He's ambitious, canny and - technically, at least - in compliance with the law. He's, at heart, a good man, and he's in the public eye, but he's not universally well-liked. One day, he sends the wrong man to the chair. And he comes undone.

This sets in motion a plot that winds and twists without becoming outlandish. The picture, which doesn't strike me as a "noir", moves at a nice clip, each of the broad spectrum of characters is painted with a defining brush stroke, and the dialogue is efficient and snappy. It's the kind of movie that hooks you and hooks you good. It did me.

"Illegal" is, above all, an Edward G. Robinson picture. It doesn't seem like a star vehicle. Robinson shares the screen with everyone, yet he is such a forceful presence and creates such a complex and complicated character, sympathetic yet warped, you search him out in every scene. You want to watch him. He's magnetic. I'm becoming a real Edward G. Robinson fan on the strength of his 40's and 50's films alone, some of them comic reminders of his earlier gangster persona. He's as good in this movie as he is in "Scarlet Street", which I saw recently for the first time and which, well... kinda sorta blew my mind. I've lived a little and can recognize the truths that some of these lively, well-written B-movies shine a light on.

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