One of my favorites. Humphrey Bogart is a D.A. out to bring down the boss of a Murder,Inc. type of operation. Lots of suspense and action.
Under heavy police guard Joseph Rico (Ted de Corsia) is brought into D.A.Martin Ferguson’s (Humphrey Bogart) office. He’s the star witness against Albert Mendoza (Everett Sloane). He runs an outfit that takes out contracts for murder.
Rico is starting to crack. There have already been three attempts on his life. Now there’s a fourth. He says he changed his mind and won’t testify. Ferguson decks him and he’s taken to a back room where he’s watched over by police Sgt.Whitlow (King Donovan). Rico tricks Whitlow, knocks him out and escapes through a window.
Ferguson sees him on the ledge thinking about making a jump for the fire escape. He realizes he can’t make it and says he wants to come back inside. He falls. That’s it for him and Ferguson’s case against Mendoza.
In seven hours Mendoza will walk out of a courtroom a free man. Ferguson and Captain Frank Nelson (Roy Roberts) review the case. Ferguson says there’s something someone said that keeps running through his mind. He just can’t recall it exactly.
Flashback: Duke Malloy comes into the police station and says he killed his girl. He takes Nelson and Ferguson to where her body is buried. It’s gone. He’s arrested and hangs himself in his cell. He’d told them he was made to do it because there was a contract on her and he had to do the hit. He was accompanied by hoods named Philadelphia, Smiley, O’Hara and Big Babe.
Ferguson tracks down Philadelphia (Jack Lambert). he’s in an insane asylum. Smiley was stuffed in a furnace. Ferguson and Nelson catch up with Big Babe (Zero Mostel). He finally tells them how he became involved with Rico and the troupe.
Later O’Hara (Don Beddoe) is discovered shot on the sidewalk. In the hospital he fills Ferguson and Nelson in on more of what happened. They also learn why the girl had to be bumped off.
Back in the present there are some twists and turns that make sense and the movie comes to a suspenseful wrap up. I didn’t want to give away too much. Put this on the must see list.
King Donovan is best known Jack Bellcec in 1956’s “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.” TV fans know him as Bob Cummings best friend Harvey Helm on “The Bob Cummings Show” (1955-58).