The Racket Reviews
The film is a re-make of a 1920s picture. Howard Hawks, who produced the first version, re-made the film because there were senate committee investigations into organized crime at the time. So, Hawks knew it was the perfect subject matter to exploit.
The script could have used another draft but nonetheless the pace moves along, and characters are properly motivated.
Robert Mitchum, oddly, doesn't demonstrate the star power we know him for, but I found the rest of the performances - especially Robert Ryan, Lizabeth Scott and William Talman (who would later become famous for his role of the always losing attorney, Hamilton Burger, on TV's Perry Mason).
If you haven't seen The Racket and like film noir give this picture a chance. If you're not into it after 20 minutes or so, forget I recommended it.
"The Racket" is a good but dated police story disclosing corruption in all levels of New York City. The ending is extremely commercial, moralist and without credibility, with the subpoenas of Mortimer Welsh and Detective Sergeant Turk and the romance between Irene Hayes and the naive City Press journalist Dave Ames. Robert Ryan is excellent in the role of the violent and old-fashioned criminal, but Robert Mitchum has a bureaucratic performance. Just as a curiosity, the name of the owner of the car used by Joe stamped on the newspaper is William R. Wyler, maybe in a tribute to the great director.
Producer Howard Hughes decided to remake his 1928 film of the same name (which was originally based on a Broadway play and starred a young Edward G. Robinson) and shift the focus away from the inevitable square-off between the cop and the crook who were once boyhood friends, and concentrate more on the corruption angle and the idea of organized crime becoming more Big Business-like (an idea that really started to take root around this time, which can be seen in such films as Abraham Polonsky's Force of Evil and John Boorman's Point Blank).
So after countless drafts of a screenplay (one of which was penned by the great tough-guy writer/director Samuel Fuller) and five(!) different directors (John Cromwell was credited however four other filmmakers, including the great Nicholas Ray [Rebel Without a Cause, On Dangerous Ground, In A Lonely Place] and Tay Garnett [The Postman Always Rings Twice] pulled various duties on the picture) the film is a rather ridiculous mish-mash of scenes that either contradict earlier ones or just occur out-of-the-blue never to be mentioned again.
It's not terrible but everyone involved has certainly been a lot better.