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The onscreen title card reads: "Hoodlum Empire: A Bob Considine Story." The story, told mostly through a series of flashbacks, was written by Hearst-syndicated feature writer Bob Considine and was based on a series of exposs on racketeering he wrote for the International News Service. The articles described the U.S. Senate Crime Investigating Committee Hearings, which were chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver in 1951.
According to a December 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item, Republic rushed the story into production after gangland slayings occurred in Los Angeles. The same item also stated that Joseph Cotten was tentatively cast in a leading role as a law enforcement officer, but he did not appear in the final film. According to an August 1951 Los Angeles Examiner news item and early Hollywood Reporter production charts, George Raft was cast, but he was not identifiable in the viewed print.
Some Italian-Americans were offended by the Italian surnames of the gangster characters, according to a March 1952 Variety news item, and the Variety review observed that several main characters closely resembled real people involved in the Kefauver hearings. The Hollywood Citizen-News review commended the film for showing how average citizens aid organized crime in America by participating in seemingly innocent gambling activities. For more information on the Kefauver Investigation, see the entry below for the 1951 Twentieth-Century Fox production The Kefauver Crime Investigation, which contains actual footage of the hearings.