Man Against the Mob
- TV Movie
- 1h 40m
In 1930s Los Angeles, a police detective leads an elite squad against a vicious organized crime ring.In 1930s Los Angeles, a police detective leads an elite squad against a vicious organized crime ring.In 1930s Los Angeles, a police detective leads an elite squad against a vicious organized crime ring.
Good Cops against Bad Cops and Mob, Very Watchable
This is an enjoyable and highly watchable good guy against the bad guys film. It is set in Los Angeles in the 1940s just after the War, not in the 1930s as wrongly stated in its IMDb description. The script has some excellent humour and there are lots of really witty lines and dialogue exchanges, which lift this tale above the mediocre. Kathryn Harrold is outstanding as the War widow who is the love interest, battling her way through sheer talent out of a boxed-in supporting role, to create a rounded character. Well done, Kathryn. The lead is George Peppard. By this time he was very tired, and seems to lack enthusiasm. You can hear him thinking: 'I need a nap.' As a younger man he had such insouciant charm of an Ivy League flavour (though he was actually from Detroit and went to Purdue), and who can ever forget him in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1961)? He did stalwart work in many an action film, bringing something extra to countless cardboard roles. He just had that 'something', and it was always satisfying to accept him on screen as whatever role it was this time. Here he triumphs over his own ennui to deliver yet again, and we slowly realize that his early wooden nature in the film is meant to be part of the character's back story. He has lost his wife, Kathryn has lost her husband, and they both slowly un-thaw and entwine. Steven Stern does a satisfactory job of directing. There is one extremely annoying aspect to this film: every time the dialogue stops and there is a linking sequence, some lunatic sound engineer turns up the volume and blasts the viewer with very loud jazz, and it is bit like being shocked suddenly by one of those cars coming round the corner with bass speakers blaring, which the thuggie drug dealers of today use in cities to announce their arrival and stake their territory. You really have to turn down the volume on these occasions, and it does nothing to add to the continuity of the story. George is very heroic and straight and honest, and fights the Mob's attempts to come in from New Jersey and infiltrate L.A., and they are being aided by an entire division of corrupt L.A. cops known as 'Metro Division'. George escapes several assassination attempts, won't give up, and becomes pretty much a lone wolf as his few supporters are killed around him. So George is beset on all sides, fighting the Establishment, his treacherous colleagues, informers, gangsters, molls, you name it. Sixties glamour gal Stella Stevens plays an owner of a nightclub where Sin Wins, and the camera is kept well away from her so we always see her pretty much in the distance, and her part is thankless, but she will do. This is fun, and it even led to a sequel with Peppard which I have not seen. It was a 'Lorimar Television' film, so maybe it never got much cinema release. By this time, Peppard was identified in the public mind with the TV character 'Banacek', which he played in a long-running series with suave conviction. In this film, being the forties, George wears a hat most of the time, so it is often hard to see him, hiding under it. The film tries to get a bit of Chandleresque feel to it, and does not entirely fail at that. After all, the old cars are there, and they are well polished and lovingly maintained. And there are even two toy poodles if you are into dogs (assuming, that is, that toy poodles really are dogs, which I think is open to question). The thugs and cops are very much what one would expect, and although this is a picture made on a modest budget, it is not boring. Peppard manages flashes of his old charm from time to time, and he knows how to play the lead in something without exerting himself too much, thus carrying the picture to a conclusion without making us feel cheated.
- Oct 25, 2008
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