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Pay or Die
     

Pay or Die

Director: Richard Wilson,

Cast: Ernest Borgnine, Zohra Lampert, Alan Austin

 
Based on real incidents in the life and death of Lt. Joseph Petrosino (Ernest Borgnine) of the New York police force, this tale set between 1906-1909 details the history of the lieutenant's fight to prove Sicilian Mafia involvement in crimes in his city. Lt. Petrosino has a series of dangerous close calls as he distinguishes himself by saving singer Enrico Caruso from

Overview

Based on real incidents in the life and death of Lt. Joseph Petrosino (Ernest Borgnine) of the New York police force, this tale set between 1906-1909 details the history of the lieutenant's fight to prove Sicilian Mafia involvement in crimes in his city. Lt. Petrosino has a series of dangerous close calls as he distinguishes himself by saving singer Enrico Caruso from a Mafia bomb outside the Metropolitan Opera, and by also saving the father of Adelina (Zohra Lampert) the woman he loves. Several other exploits eventually lead to Petrosino's trip to Sicily to nail evidence for the Mafia's activities in New York, and for a final meeting with destiny. This represented the last screen credit of scenarist Bertram Millhauser, who died in 1958; he had received his penultimate credit nine years before that, on the 1949 Tokyo Joe.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Richard Wilson's Pay Or Die is handled in a manner similar to that of the same director's Al Capone -- the major difference is that Ernest Borgnine, as the protagonist of this picture, isn't quite as overpowering a screen presence as Rod Steiger was in the title-role of the Capone bio-pic. But Wilson presents his story with a highly mobile camera and focuses on actors rather than action -- no surprise for the radio-trained director. Not that there isn't a lot of action and a fair amount of violence in this picture, some of it quite memorable for its time -- children are not off-limits to the mayhem depicted in this fact-based account of New York City police lieutenant Joseph Petrosino's was against the "Black Hand" in early twentieth century New York. The flat black-and-white photography creates its own faux-realism, similar to Al Capone -- we never entirely forget that we're watching a movie and a fictionalization (and embellishment), but it all plays so smoothly and seamlessly that the whole movie takes on the power of good (if not great) story-telling. And Borgnine carries his part well, aided in no small part by Zohra Lampert as the female lead.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/01/2009
UPC:
0883316204863
Original Release:
1960
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
42,758

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ernest Borgnine Lt. Joseph Petrosino
Zohra Lampert Adelina Saulino
Alan Austin Johnny Viscardi
Renata Vanni Mama Saulino
Franco Corsaro Vito Zarillo
Robert Simon Commissioner
Robert Ellenstein Luigi Di Sarno
Howard Caine Enrico Caruso
John Duke Lupo Miano
John Marley Caputo
Mario Siletti Loria
Mimi Doyle Nun
Mary Carver Mrs. Rossi
Paul Birch Mayor
Vito Scotti Simonetti
Vincent Barbi Fabraka
Sherry Alberoni Giulia De Sarno
Carlo Tricoli Don Cesare
Bart Bradley Nicolo
Marian Collier Girl from Opera
Joseph Sargent Sorgente
Sam Capuano Rossi

Technical Credits
Richard Wilson Director,Producer
Lucien Ballard Cinematographer
Fernando Carrere Production Designer
Walter A. Hannemann Editor
Lou Lacava Special Effects
Bob Mark Special Effects
Bertram Millhauser Screenwriter
Milt Olsen Special Effects
David Raksin Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Richard Collins Screenwriter
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Roger J. Weinberg Costumes/Costume Designer

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