Put this on the must see list. Great movie loaded with good performances. There’s also a great soundtrack from Richard Rodgers.
Solly Pitts (Mickey Shaughnessy) is an honest hiring boss for New York longshoremen. As usual his pal Benjy Karp (Harry Bellaver) is waiting outside to give him a ride to the docks. Solly says goodbye to his wife Madge (Jan Sterling) and heads down the stairs. He’s met by three thugs who put six garlic tipped slugs in him. Benjy sees one of them running away. Solly tells Madge that Cockeye Eddie Cook and two of his meatballs did it.
D.A.Howard Rysdale has to assign the case to new investigator Bill Keating (Richard Egan). He doesn’t know anything about cases involving the waterfront. At the hospital Keating meets Police Lt.Anthony Vosnick (Charles McGraw). Solly says he doesn’t know who shot him.
Keating goes to the pier and sees drunken dock worker Midget rant against the rackets. Cook’s boss, Al Dahlke (Walter Mattheau) sends his goons to shut him up and toss him in the water. No one wants to talk to Keating. They don’t trust the authorities to do anything about what goes on there.
An old friend of Keating takes him and his fiancee Dee (Julie Adams) to a Chinese restaurant. The purpose was to set up a meeting between Keating and Dahlke. Dahlke offers Keating connections if he frees Cook. No deal.
Now Solly knows he’s dying and wants to make a deathbed declaration. He tells Keating and Vosnick that Cook and his two henchman did the deed. Cook is brought into the hospital room and Solly says that’s the guy.
Things seem to be falling into place for Keating but Rysdale and some associates think the case to too weak to go to trial. Keating blasts Rysdale and gives a strong hint that he may be in Dahlke’s pocket. Later that night things calm down as Rysdale visits Keating and Dee’s apartment. They got married just a little bit ago.
Rysdale says the big boss decided to approve going to trial. Cook and his thugs are represented by top defense lawyer John Jacob Masters (Dan Duryea). The trial is now under way and there’s big trouble on the waterfront.
Harry Bellaver played Lt.Frank Arcaro on “Naked City” (1959-63).