Expect a fast progression, some good solid filming, and acting that holds its own. The director, Maxwell Shane, is really more of a screenwriter, and so it figures the writing here is pretty good (he co-wrote, too).
Quinn is wonderful as the tough gangster who isn’t afraid to push people around to get what he wants. For 1955 his performance is pretty raw and rough…
…Quinn delivers a scary and riveting performance. The actor’s just back from Italy where he starred in the powerful classic La Strada (1954). So maybe he was trying to show Hollywood a thing or two, since he delivers a lot more than the role requires. Then there’s Bancroft, already a magnetic personality, and on her way to an Oscar-studded career.
-Excerpts from IMDB reviews
In this short/lesser-known noir film, Brooklyn-raised gangster, Phil Regal (Anthony Quinn), finds out that his younger sister, Rosalie (Anne Bancroft), is pregnant by a local punk, Nicky Bradna (Farley Granger). She insists that she loves this man, though he’s on death row for a murder committed during a robbery. Regal’s henchmen scare all the witnesses to change their testimony, so Nicky is released, and free to marry Rosalie. Soon, Phil regrets what he did for Nicky, who isn’t content to be an honest working man/devoted husband. A young journalist, Joe McFarlan (Peter Graves), is also investigating Regal’s business activities.
We see how criminals don’t just come out of the blue, but are a product of their environment (which must’ve been risky to show in the mid-50s). The story itself is far-fetched, but the acting and dialogue will keep you interested. Quinn (around 40 y.o.) creates a compelling underworld character who’ll go to any length to protect his sweet immigrant mom and naive little sister. I got a kick out of seeing 23 y.o. Bancroft; she was striking w/ large expressive eyes. I learned that both her parents were Italian immigrants to NYC; Quinn’s heritage is Mexican (mother) and Irish (father). Graves (younger brother of Gunsmoke‘s James Armess) looks handsome in a conventional way (athletic/square-jawed/thick hair); later he’d become famous on TV also (Mission: Impossible). This was one of Granger’s last (movie) roles; he decided to focus on theater soon after (which was his first love). Fans of soap operas may also recognize a sassy/young Jeanne Cooper (in a small/uncredited role); she was also the mother of L.A. Law star Corbin Bernsen.