Gang War


1h 15m 1958

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Regal Films, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Captiol Records Building, California, United States; Los Angeles--Nickodell Restaurant, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Hoods Take Over by Ovid Demaris (New York, 1957).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

When gangster Slick Conner turns state's evidence against mob boss Maxie Matthews, Maxie orders him killed. In a darkened parking lot late one night, Maxie's second-in-command, Joe Reno, and his henchman, Bernard "Axe" Duncan, beat and stab Slick and then stuff his body into the trunk of Reno's car. Slick's murder is witnessed by schoolteacher Alan Avery, who notifies the police from a pay phone. When they ask his name, Alan slams down the receiver, but leaves a package of medicine behind in the booth. Alan then hurries home to his pregnant wife Edie, who senses that something is wrong. While Alan wrestles with his conscience, the crude, brutal Maxie harangues his moll Marie to "get some culture." Soon after, the police knock at Alan's door to deliver the pills and question him about the murder. The police accompany Alan to the crime scene, but once there, Alan, fearful of becoming a target, pleads with the officers to leave him alone. After the lieutenant lectures Alan about his civic duty, Alan agrees to cooperate and repeats the license plate number of the assassins' car. Upon tracing the plate to Reno, the police arrest him and Axe for murder. After Alan identifies them in a lineup and agrees to testify against them in court, the lieutenant cautions him not to tell anyone that he was an eyewitness to murder. Soon after the arrest, Maxie orders Bryce Barker, the gang's partially deaf attorney, to bail Reno and Axe out of jail. Years of working for the mob have driven Bryce to drink and earned him the contempt of his wife Diane. At the police station, Bryce learns of Alan's existence from Capt. Finch, a crooked cop on Maxie's payroll. Finch also provides the newspapers with Alan's identity, and the next morning, Alan finds his name trumpeted in the press. When Edie worries about her husband's safety, Alan reminds her that he faced worse dangers in the Korean War and refuses to go into hiding. Maxie, who is in the midst of a gang war with syndicate head Tomkins, authorizes Bryce to bribe Alan not to testify. To convince Alan, Maxie sends his punch-drunk, ex-boxer valet Chester to intimidate Edie. After refusing Bryce's bribe, Alan returns home to find Edie lying dead on the kitchen floor, killed by Chester's blows. Bent on revenge, Alan takes a cab to Maxie's home and drops his gun while paying his fare, prompting the cab driver to notify the police. After scaling the wall surrounding Maxie's house, Alan crawls through the garden and is about to shoot Maxie when the police arrive and arrest him for trespassing. Sympathetic to Alan's plight, Sgt. Ernie Tucker hides the gun and accuses Maxie of murdering Alan's wife and unborn child. Back at the police station, the lieutenant places Alan under protective custody. Later, Diane shows Bryce the headlines reporting Edie's murder, but he denies complicity in the crime. Soon after, Maxie summons bookie Max Skepio, who bears a resemblance to Slick, and orders him to testify that he was the man Alan saw beaten in the parking lot. After Mike recounts his story to the police, the murder charges against Reno and Axe are changed to assault and they are released on bail. While toasting his victory with Reno and Axe, Maxie decrees that Alan be killed, causing Bryce finally to quit. Once Bryce leaves, Maxie, furious, orders his death, too. After drunkenly congratulating himself at a bar, Bryce staggers into the parking lot and is gunned down by Maxie's thugs. Frustrated by the turn of events, Alan decides to visit Bryce. When the attorney stumbles in, Diane and Alan assume that he is drunk until Alan discovers that he has been shot. Bryce then warns Alan that he is to be next, and tells him that Maxie is hosting a Christmas party at his home. After Alan departs, Bryce informs Diane that he has forsaken the mob and then dies in her arms. Upon returning home to his empty house, Alan smashes open the piggybank earmarked for his dead child. When a carload of killers pulls up in front, Alan runs out the back door and uses the money to buy a gun. Maxie, meanwhile, is awaiting the arrival of his guests when Tomkins appears and informs him that he has taken over and that Reno and Axe have been rearrested for murder after Mike recanted his testimony. As the singer hired by Maxie warbles in the background, Chester tackles Tomkins' thugs, who then throttle him unconscious. When Maxie discovers that Finch has been arrested, too, he laments that Chester is his only friend. Marie, fed up with being abused and insulted, announces that she is walking out on Maxie, who then assaults her on the stairs. Soon after, Alan, seeing that Maxie's door is ajar, enters the house and climbs the stairs, gun drawn, and finds Maxie seated in a darkened room all alone, sobbing and broken. Retreating, Alan walks out of the house and closes the door behind him.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Regal Films, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Captiol Records Building, California, United States; Los Angeles--Nickodell Restaurant, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Hoods Take Over by Ovid Demaris (New York, 1957).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.


Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute.

After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland.

TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place:

8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960)
10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963)
1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967)
4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976)

Charles Bronson, 1921-2003

Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him.

Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954).

Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West.

These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977).

Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Tcm Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13Th - Tcm Remembers Charles Bronson This Saturday, Sept. 13Th 2003.

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.

Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute. After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland. TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place: 8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960) 10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963) 1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967) 4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976) Charles Bronson, 1921-2003 Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81. He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him. Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954). Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West. These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977). Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Hair stylist Ann Kirk's first name is misspelled "Anne" in the onscreen credits. Some of the film's action takes place at well-known Hollywood landmarks Nickodell's Restaurant and the Capitol Records building.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1958

Regalscope

Released in United States Spring April 1958