The Enforcer (1951) Cops, Contracts, Hit Men, Gangsters & Dickie Bow Ties

The Enforcer (1951) humphrey bogart cops and crime poster

Oh here we go, this is what I’m talking about, first top film buzz of 2018 straight out the gate. Humphrey Bogart plays tough assistant district attorney law enforcer Martin Ferguson taking on the gangsters of New York. A guy so badass he can turn up rocking a dickie bow tie down at the precinct with not one raised eyelid, not even a little giggle.

The Enforcer (1951) arrival cop van guns prisoner cime boss snitchThe Enforcer (1951) humphrey bogart DEA smoking cop

Opening with a scene not far removed from something like The Untouchables, you have Martin Ferguson’s only witness to take the stand at the courthouse, arriving surrounded by a ton of cops. This captured gangster is under the threat of going down for hard time himself if he doesn’t comply. Locked in the building is the formidable crime lord Albert Mendoza (Everett Sloane) a name that installs fear into your very soul. He’s a condemned man, which Ferguson hopes will be convicted and roasted in the electric chair. That witness/snitch arriving for the hearing surrounded by police officers for tomorrow’s court case is Joe Rico (Ted de Corsia). Rico is a marked man and Rico knows it!

The Enforcer (1951) arrival cwitness rico gangster prisoner cime boss snitch

Rico – “There’s something on its way to kill me! I can feel it comin’!”

That opening scene is the present, with what happens has Ferguson and his trusty sidekick Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts) having to relive the case, right from the start, file after file, recorded statements and every witness report. The following scenes are flashbacks as the story up to this day is revealed to us.

The Enforcer (1951) humphrey bogart Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts)

Capt. Nelson – “What’s wrong with the law that we can’t touch him? Oh, I know, our kind of laws are designed to protect the innocent. It’s not enough we know a man is guilty – we have to prove it!”

This cop and crime noir film is top notch in every way, Bogart is on incredible form and I loved his “gang” Capt Nelson and Sgt Whitlow (King Donovan). The black and white cinematography by Hitchcock’s main man Robert Burks is divine yet menacing at the same time. Especially back at the precinct where the shadowed figures of armed police officers are propelled on the alleyway walls.

The Enforcer (1951) Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts) Sgt Whitlow (King Donovan) dukeThe Enforcer (1951) humphrey bogart (Zero Mostel) big babe

The way the gangsters are all introduced in flashbacks is done with great attention to detail, pushing a very entertaining style. Each man introduced with their own distinct name and quirk. Names like Philadelphia, Shorty, Duke, Smiley, Sad Eyes and Big Babe played by the larger than life (Zero Mostel)

The Enforcer (1951) gangster room crime bosses mafia mob

The film is loosely based on true crime events that spanned the 1930’s and 40’s where organised crime syndicates of Italian American Mafia and Jewish gangsters dealt out hundreds of horrifying contract killings until they were broke up and busted. These crimes were dubbed Murder Inc by news agencies at the time.

The Enforcer (1951) Joe Rico (Ted de Corsia) (Zero Mostel) big babeThe Enforcer (1951) gangster car crime bosses mafia mob

Directed by Bretaigne Windust but unfortunately he became unwell and had to leave the project, which in turn made way for Raoul Walsh to finish the film in an uncredited role. I read “Walsh refused to take screen credit for it, saying that the picture was Windust’s big break and he wasn’t going to take it away from him”. Sounds like a top fella to me.

The Enforcer (1951) humphrey bogart Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts) cops

Can Humphrey and his band of cop brothers work out the connections to bring justice in time to convict a crime lord boss? Will they be able to uncover the twisting story before it’s too late? Hopefully they won’t get lost in a flashback within flashback!

I really rated this exciting fast paced story and very much recommend it. Have you seen it before? What did you think?

As always, thanks for reading and keep watching the screens. All the best from me, Mikey Wolfman.

PS I read it did very well on the French cinema circuit. Check this amazing poster artwork for the film going under the title of “La città è salva”

The Enforcer (1951) French poster version La Città è salva

10 thoughts on “The Enforcer (1951) Cops, Contracts, Hit Men, Gangsters & Dickie Bow Ties

  1. Once again Bogie proves he was something special. Makes one wonder how he’d fit in today with the crop of 6 pack muscle bound heroes we usually have in our heroic roles nowadays. Another classic Bogie flick. I’m off to see Casablanca next week with a full orchestra performing the score below the screen here in hometown. Looking forward to seeing him on the BIG SCREEN. Been a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did my quick scan of the review (the plot section), and I like what you have to say about it, so I’ll track it down and give it a look (and a review). Good lord, the number of recognizable faces in those photos…what’d they do, round up every noir hoodlum they could find and threw them into the film?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha “what’d they do, round up every noir hoodlum ” lol. I’m pretty new to the noir game but even I’ve seen a lot of these guys popping up all over the shop…… Positive you are going to love it Todd.

      Like

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