The Enforcer (1951)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Humphrey Bogart plays Martin Ferguson, a prosecutor about to put Albert Mendoza (Everett Sloane), the head of a murder-for-hire ring, on trial. But the night before the trial, his key witness, Joe Rico (Ted de Corsia), dies in a fall out of the window of the room in which he's been guarded, part of an abortive escape attempt to keep from testifying. His case in shambles, Ferguson and detective Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts) try to piece the entire four-year investigation back together from square one, trying to find something that might give them another way to prosecute Mendoza. The main body of the movie is told in flashback, starting when a small-time hood named Duke Malloy (Michael Tolan, then billed as Lawrence Tolan) walks into a police station to turn himself in for killing his girlfriend -- and says that someone made him kill her. He babbles to the bewildered detectives about "hits" and "contracts" and men nicknamed Philadelphia, Big Babe, and Smiley. The body isn't found, but they arrest Malloy, who hangs himself in his cell. That dead end leads, almost by accident, to Philadelphia Tom Zaca (Jack Lambert), an asylum inmate who has to be put under sedation at the mention of Malloy's name. They find another suspect's body burning in his building's incinerator, and then Big Babe Lazick (Zero Mostel), a two-bit hood, hiding in a church in mortal fear of his life. He begins weaving a tale of a murder-by-contract ring and its head operator, Joe Rico, of a murder contract that Duke Malloy never filled on a girl who had to change her name, of mistaken identity and the murder of the girl's cab-driver father, and the connection between that and a murder that they both witnessed eight years earlier. In the midst of all of those interlocking stories (spread across ten years), there's something Ferguson missed -- when he had Rico to testify -- that he has to sort out from the reams of testimony and evidence, and he has to figure it out before Mendoza does, or lose the last witness he has. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Republic Pictures Home Video

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Cast

Humphrey Bogart
as Dist. Atty. Martin Ferguson
Zero Mostel
as Big Babe Lazick
Ted de Corsia
as Joseph Rico
Everett Sloane
as Albert Mendoza
Roy Roberts
as Capt. Frank Nelson
Lawrence Tolan
as Duke Malloy
King Donovan
as Sgt. Whitlow
Bob Steele
as Herman
Adelaide Klein
as Olga Kirshen
Don Beddoe
as Thomas O'Hara
Tito Vuolo
as Tony Vetto
Jack Lambert
as Philadelphia Tom Zaca
Patricia Joiner
as Teresa Davis/Angela Vetto
Susan Cabot
as Nina Lombardo
Mario Siletti
as Louis the Barber
Thomas P. Dillon
as Policeman
Alan Foster
as Shorty
Pete Kellett
as Intern
Barry Reagan
as Intern
Dan Riss
as Mayor
Art Dupuis
as Keeper
Bud Wolfe
as Fireman
Patricia Hayes
as Teenager
Robert Strong
as Secretary
Michael Lally
as Detective
George Meader
as Medical Examiner
Ralph Dunn
as Sergeant
Perc Launders
as Police Sergeant
Tom Dillon
as Policeman
John Maxwell
as Doctor
James Brick Sullivan
as Police Chauffeur
Greta Granstedt
as Mrs. Lazick
Chuck Hamilton
as Policeman
Jay Morley
as Policeman
Karen Kester
as Nina as a child
Eula Guy
as Landlady
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Critic Reviews for The Enforcer

All Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
DVDTalk.com

Vivid film noir, with many images that recall other Raoul Walsh thrillers.

Full Review… | December 31, 2010
Classic Film and Television

Fine latter day Bogie (1950), and the title says it all.

February 23, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Audience Reviews for The Enforcer

½

A standard Film Noir. It has the classic mood and feel. This one tries to play as reenactment of true events through flashbacks. It plays to the stereotypes that we would see for example in Dick Tracy. It is one step up from the Dick Tracy films, though not by much. Bogart is in the film only half the time as it takes turns following the narrative from the perspective of law enforcement officials and the criminal underground. The split attention prevents it from gaining any depth to the narrative. Bogart plays an assistant district attorney on the eve of sending a criminal kingpin to jail at a court trial. His key witness gets the jitters and dies senselessly as he tries to escape from police protection. Bogart faces the possibility of letting the criminal Al Mendoza free, but decides to revisit the evidence to find the needle in the haystack that he needs. The film plays very strict and standard with little substance and sub par acting from the underground characters. The acting from the underground characters comes off as stiff and forced. If you enjoy film noirs and can put up with hammy acting, this can still be a fun picture to watch. As a lover of film noir, I do consider this an enjoyable mindless viewing, but it might not be the case for many.

gerardo rodriguez
gerardo rodriguez

A not-very-original crime drama noir, with Bogie as a detective trying to bring down a ring of hit men. Besides the flashbacks-within-flashbacks, the most interesting thing about it that it was apparently made at a time before "contract" and "hit" became part of the common lexicon. Either that or the writer just underestimated his audience. They treat the very idea of a hit man as a shocking new concept. Overall, the film is entertaining with a few excellent shots, if not terribly fresh.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller
½

Minor crime caper. In his last Warners movie Bogart is excellent as always but the film is average in all other aspects

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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