by any definition a really good but pretty violent crime drama about a gangster reaching for the top
Ignore the fact that this is a movie with an all black cast and just take it for what it is, a really good crime drama.
The plot of this little gem has Bob "Killer" Meade making his move to take over the gangs in Harlem after his boss refuses to do anything about a friend who was killed in a gang fight over territory.Meade kills his boss and then begins to move to increase his hold on the rackets and fight the other gangs. Its a violent affair that only pauses for time out with his girl who's an up and coming singer.
An hour long this is a fast moving and very violent film. I would have thought that some of the nastiness of this film would have been banned by the production code, clearly the rules were being ignored by some independent producers. This film hearkens back to the precode films of James Cagney, Paul Muni and Edward G Robinson with its on screen death toll. (Even by todays standards the film is some what nasty in its violence) Directed by a sure handed Leo Popkin, this film uses montages of stock footage and newspaper headlines to make you feel as though you're seeing much more than you really are. The paper dodge is as clichéd as you can get but it manages to stretch a meager budget into something many of the big studios would have been proud to release. Clearly the man knew how to stretch a dollar and make you believe you were actually seeing more than you were.
Far from perfect there are times when the budget shows in the use of of some stock sets. Also the cast is no always on the same level acting wise, but it doesn't really mater since the story moves things along so that you really don't care.
Yes this is a program B film, but at the same time it manages to be a breath of fresh air to anyone who's seen more than their share of B programmers.
Worth a look for anyone who wants to see a very good little action film. You may not love it but I'm pretty sure that if you take it on its own terms you'll come away liking it a great deal.
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