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Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond
     

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond

Director: Budd Boetticher

Cast: Ray Danton, Karen Steele, Elaine Stewart

 
This effective gangster film on the notorious New York mobster Jack "Legs" Diamond is interspersed with moments of comic relief and was released just a few months after The Purple Gang shot their way across the silver screens in the U.S. Ironically, that gang and Diamond met their ends in the same year, 1931, and their rise was largely due to Prohibition.

Overview

This effective gangster film on the notorious New York mobster Jack "Legs" Diamond is interspersed with moments of comic relief and was released just a few months after The Purple Gang shot their way across the silver screens in the U.S. Ironically, that gang and Diamond met their ends in the same year, 1931, and their rise was largely due to Prohibition. "Legsie" (Ray Danton) gets his name because he was a dancer, but he gets his reputation because he double-crosses anyone. He is a psychopath who works his way up the body count to the top of his own network of rackets. Along the way he meets and marries his wife Alice Schiffer (Karen Steele) and survives three attempts on his life that send him to the hospital each time. His reputation for "invulnerability," the inability of the police to touch him, gangsters who kill each other off, the racketeering with union bosses, and the hijacking of liquor shipments are all elements found in this film and The Purple Gang as well. Watch for a young Dyan Cannon in a bit part as Dixie, back when her first name was spelled like everyone else spells Diane.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A terrific B-movie, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond is no more faithful to fact than most Hollywood biopics, but that doesn't matter. What's important is the sheer electricity that surges through this little foray into gangsterdom. While the elements of the screenplay are certainly familiar, Legs transcends those elements thanks to a ruthlessness that is present in every scene and that mirrors the ruthlessness of the title character. Director Budd Boetticher doesn't try to soften Legs, doesn't try to make him a likeable character. He's a sociopath, someone who will stop at nothing and will use anyone and everyone to get what he wants, and without a moment's hesitation. There's almost a gleeful abandon to the director's work, a black comedy approach to the material that gives it a tremendous energy. He is aided enormously by Ray Danton's spot-on performance. Moving with grace and agility, a panther on the prowl, Danton is all amoral cunning and "to-hell-with it" attitude; even when standing still, he practically leaps from the screen, a nervous energy infusing even his stillest moments. There's also good work from Warren Oates and the rest of the supporting cast, and Lucien Ballard's cinematography is sensational.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/26/2011
UPC:
0883316353646
Original Release:
1960
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:41:00
Sales rank:
6,530

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ray Danton Jack "Legs" Diamond
Karen Steele Alice Sniffer
Elaine Stewart Monica Drake
Jesse White Leo Bremer
Simon Oakland Lt. Moody
Robert Lowery Arnold Rothstein
Judson Pratt Kats Walsh
Warren Oates Eddie Diamond
Frank de Kova Chairman
Gordon Jones Sgt. Cassidy
Joseph Ruskin Matt Moran
Richard Gardner Vince Coll
Nesdon Booth Fence
Dyan Cannon Dixie
Jim Drum Officer
Buzz Henry Actor
Robert Herron Actor
Judd Holdren Haberdashery Clerk
Roy Jenson Bodyguard
Dyke Johnson Actor
Carey Loftin Thug
Sid Melton Little Augie
Frances Mercer Woman
Dorothy Neumann Actor
George Taylor Switchboard Operator
Joseph Marr Actor

Technical Credits
Budd Boetticher Director
Lucien Ballard Cinematographer
Gordon Bau Makeup
Folmar Blangsted Editor
Joseph Landon Screenwriter
John S. Poplin Art Director
Leonard Rosenman Score Composer
Howard Shoup Costumes/Costume Designer
Milton Sperling Producer
Clarence I. Steensen Set Decoration/Design

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