The Enforcer

1951

The Enforcer

Critics Consensus

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88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 8

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,290
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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

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
Dan Riss
as Mayor
Art Dupuis
as Keeper
Bud Wolfe
as Fireman
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
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 (8) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for The Enforcer

  • Mar 11, 2009
    Minor crime caper. In his last Warners movie Bogart is excellent as always but the film is average in all other aspects
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • May 19, 2008
    stumbled across it on tv today and i thought it was a great movie was really the movie i like to watch and the storyline was good aswell geat performance by humphrey bogart and the other crew members
    Lone W Super Reviewer
  • May 19, 2008
    When a hoodlum staggers into a police station and confesses to the murder of his girlfriend, it sets in motion a chain of events which leads to D.A. Humphrey Bogart following a series of clues and bodies uncovering a group of ruthless contract killers. All the elements of film noir are in place, including gritty violence in darkened streets and tough, uncompromising characters. The structure is a little episodic, most of the story being told in flashback, and it would've benefited from giving more screen time to Bogie himself, but it's still a tautly directed and well shot minor classic of the detective genre.
    xGary X Super Reviewer

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