Port of New York (1949) Poster

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Gritty, Violent Little Noir
swfan6219 August 2004
Had a chance to sit down and watch PORT OF NEW YORK some time ago and I have to say that this is a terrific little noir/crime/thriller! Told in "documentary style" as in such films as HOUSE ON 92ND STREET, THE NAKED CITY and HE WALKED BY NIGHT, the movie is swiftly paced, violent with a decent amount of suspense and plenty of fisticuffs. Scott Brady and Richard Rober play a couple of federal agents, one a customs agent and the other a treasury agent out to stop the distribution of illegal "contraband", i.e., opium, that came in on a ship but was smuggled off by drug dealers. The leader of the drug operation is Yul Brynner, sporting a head of dark, wavy hair and appearing in his first film role I believe. Brynner is suave and refined and listens to avant-garde piano music but it is clear that he is also quite cold and violent as the bodies start to pile up. Plenty of action to keep one interested and wonderful direction from László Benedek. The real star though is cinematographer George E. Diskant. Filmed entirely on location in New York City, the film bursts to life with magnificent images of the Big Apple and some truly wonderful shots of the NYC maritime scene. This is a rather obscure, "B" noir/crime film that was a pleasant surprise and a movie that all fans of the genre should check out.
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8/10
The Brady Hunch and The Brady Punch
yonhope2 September 2005
Hi, Everyone, Scott Brady has an idea how to steal a scene from Yul Brynner. Scott Brady has better hair, but Yul has the voice and facial expressions that show he was destined for a big Hollywood career.

This was 7 years before The King and I would make Yul Brynner a bald box office giant. Much of Yul's pleasant killer personality would be used in future bad guy roles such as Westworld, The Ten Commandments and Magnificent Seven. In this 1949 film, Yul seems to enjoy playing cat and mouse with his intended victims. He being the cat, of course.

Scott Brady did an excellent job as the good guy here. Lots of good action scenes with Scott apparently doing his own falls.

The plot basically is the bad guys want to bring one million dollars worth of narcotics into the U.S. One million dollars worth of narcotics today would be a misdemeanor.

This is a joy to watch just for the history. DeSoto Cabs follow Checker Cabs. Grand Central Station is shown during rush hour. Rush hour was anytime in the 1940s. Men's suits looked smart. Neville Brand is seen here shortly after his World War II service ended. He is the guy who is operating the ship's steering wheel in some scenes.

All of New York looks dressed up for a holiday but that is just what people wore in 1949. Good scenes, good plot, good cast.

The guy who plays Dolly Carney does an excellent job. His name was Arthur Blake. Interestingly, Yul Brynner, Scott Brady and Arthur Blake all died in 1985.

This one is worth watching.

Tom Willett
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7/10
Shape Up or Ship Out
wes-connors15 February 2011
The opium-stocked "S.S. Florentine" docks in New York City with cool blonde K.T. Stevens (as Toni Cardell) and a murder. Distraught, Ms. Stevens goes to drug-smuggling boss Yul Brynner (as Paul Vicola) to ask for more money. Getting no for an answer, and cast aside for sexual relations, Stevens decides to try to sell her naughty knowledge to Federal investigator Richard Rober (as Jim Flannery). Mr. Rober and young partner Scott Brady (as Mickey Waters) track dope to addicted nightclub comic Arthur Blake (as Dolly Carney). Dancer friend Lynne Carter (as Lili Long) tries to help Mr. Blake, who is made to squeal during withdrawal…

Narrated by future news-reader Chet Huntley, "Port of New York" is a surprisingly good feature. The leading man is Rober, who channels William Holden well; if he hadn't met with misfortune, Rober might have had a successful TV crime drama. The fine supporting cast is highlighted by Blake's drug-addicted stand-up comic; he's the one introduced while entertaining patrons with his impersonation of Charles Laughton in "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935). Noir photographer George E. Diskant excels. Today, the main attraction will by an early look at Mr. Brynner, who plays the villainous drug lord with most of his hair intact, and unshaven.

******* Port of New York (11/28/49) Laslo Benedek ~ Richard Rober, Scott Brady, Yul Brynner, K.T. Stevens
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5/10
An Epicene and Deadly Crook
bkoganbing31 August 2007
Port of New York finds Scott Brady and Richard Rober, a pair of Treasury agents on the trail of some heroin smugglers in one of the earliest films I know that seriously dealt with that subject. In an early role way before his movie stardom is Yul Brynner as the chief villain of the piece.

This would be a most obscure film if it were not for the fact that it contains Yul Brynner's screen debut. At the time Brynner was 29 years old and working on and off Broadway and it would be another two years before his breakthrough part in Rodgers&Hammerstein's The King and I.

For those who are used to the hyper-masculine Brynner in such films as The King and I, Taras Bulba, and The Ten Commandments, Port of New York is a radical departure from casting. Brynner plays it fey in this one, he's a most epicene, but very deadly crook. I have to say that when he came to Hollywood for good seven years later he never played a part like the one he has in Port of New York ever again in his career.

Brady and Rober make a pair of stalwart government agents and K.T. Stevens is just fine as Brynner's luckless girlfriend. Best performance in the film is that of Arthur Blake who plays a nightclub comedian and another luckless individual who gets in way over his head in the rackets. Blake's performance is similar to the role Zero Mostel had in The Enforcer the following year.

Port of New York was shot in New York and it contains shots of things long gone like an elevated train station at Canal Street. That familiar voice you hear narrating is that Chet Huntley before he teamed with David Brinkley to become NBC's nightly news anchors and rating's leaders in that field for years. You'll also see Neville Brand in a small role as one of Brynner's henchmen.

Port of New York is not a great noir film, but entertaining enough and nothing the cast or crew have anything to be embarrassed about.
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6/10
A violent early salvo in what would become the War against Drugs
bmacv5 November 2001
Sporting a head of dark, wavy hair that paradoxically emphasizes his Mongol heritage, Yul Brynner plays a debonair drug runner bringing heroin into the U.S. (We know he's a monster from the 78s of dissonant, avant-garde piano music -- Prokofiev? Shostakovich? -- he's forever playing.) When a bribed purser from a luxury liner surfaces in New York harbor with his throat slit, Brynner's fiancee/accomplice (K.T. Stevens) starts running scared and meets up with a narcotics agent (Scott Brady). Bad mistake, which Brynner swiftly and coldly corrects. The investigation heats up both on shore and on water, taking a creepy, and unexpectedly Bohemian, turn toward a cabaret emcee called Dolly (Arthur Blake) who cracks jokes and does Charles Laughton impressions with a monkey on his back. His mistakes, too, prove unpleasantly fatal. Moving closer to the heart of this particular darkness, Brady poses as someone in the drug racket, and comes close to bringing it off.... Even though, despite Russian-born Brynner's playing the villain, there's not a whisper of Soviet conspiracy in Port of New York, it eerily foreshadows both the black-and-white brutality and the smug self-righteousness of the Red Scare cycle. (In the minds of the public and elected officials, during this springtime of McCarthyism, narcotics and Communism were pretty much the same thing.) Though it lacks the ambiguity of fully developed characterizations, the movie succeeds fairly well on its own, straightforward terms -- especially in turning an over-romanticized New York into the raffish port city it essentially is, or was.
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8/10
Yul Brynner Stars as Brutal Villain
ZenVortex7 October 2008
This effective noirish crime drama was Yul Brynner's film debut in which he demonstrates star quality as a debonair, brutal crime boss engaged in drug trafficking. Brynner was born in Vladivostok and his oriental features and full head of wavy hair (!) are perfectly suited to this role. In particular, his facial expressions and body language when he gets busted are superbly acted and well worth watching.

Scott Brady and Richard Rober deliver generally good performances as federal agents whose goal is to track down a shipment of narcotics. Although they are portrayed as heroes, neither has star quality and their acting is occasionally hammy. The rest of the cast plays a convincing ensemble of feds, thugs, dealers, and dames.

The direction and cinematography are excellent with some beautifully composed classic noir scenes where Brady and Rober explore a dark warehouse. The plot is predictable without major twists or sharp dialog, although the stentorian narrator gives the movie an interesting fascist undertone as war-on-drugs propaganda.

The print (Classic Film Noir, Volume 2) is quite good although the sound track is scratchy. Despite its flaws, this is a well-crafted fast-paced minor film noir worth adding to your collection.
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7/10
Good cast. Very good movie.
michaelRokeefe9 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The location-filmed PORT of NEW YORK garnered more attention years after its release in 1949; because of the debut of Yul Brynner. In his first film role, Brynner plays Paul Vicola, an arrogant and ruthless narcotics smuggler operating from a yacht in the harbor. Drugs would be smuggled from ships entering the Port of New York and Vicola would make sure the couriers would meet a casual death. Mickey Waters(Scott Brady)and Jim Flannery(Richard Rober)are government agents trying to get a handle on how the smuggling ring functions. Dolly Carney(Arthur Blake)claims to be getting out of the business when he is arrested. His girlfriend Toni(K.T. Stevens)is frightened enough to try and blow the whistle on the dope deals. The hard-hitting Brady deservedly is the star of this B&W crime flick. Brynner displayed enough not to go unnoticed.
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7/10
You better get another story Carney, this one sorta needs crutches."
classicsoncall21 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The film starts out as if it were a documentary, the voice over narration describing New York City's reputation as a major maritime port, along with the burgeoning problem of a growing drug trade. It heats up from there with a million dollar drug deal in the works, masterminded by drug kingpin Paul Vicola (Yul Brynner when he had hair). The story consistently references the 'Florentine Case', named after the cruise liner from which the drug bundle was hijacked, and it made me wonder if the story was based on a true crime case; that was never made clear.

Yul Brynner was particularly malevolent in his role, foreshadowed by the way he relates to girl friend Toni Cardell (K.T. Stevens) - "Please darling, you must not become a nuisance". Unfortunately, he perceived her in just that way, she didn't make it to the end of the story. Nor for that matter did Scott Brady, who was actually top billed here for his performance as customs agent Mickey Waters. You'd be hard pressed to find the lead actor of any film make his exit as quickly as Brady in this one, thanks again to Vicola's henchmen. That leaves narcotics officer Jim Flannery (Richard Rober) to make the save for the good guys, with a few twists and turns thrown against him along the way. William Challee and Neville Brand have just the right look for their roles as the top henchies, their craggy features make them almost a caricature.

This one's actually a fairly gripping crime drama, made especially atmospheric and moody with all the great shots of the city coastline and East River traffic. Surprisingly, I found myself recognizing a lot of it from one of those leisure cruises around Manhattan made not long ago, even though this movie is pushing near sixty years old. I think some of those boats in the film might have made it till today.

Best of all, the film turned out to be a real bargain as part of a sixteen movie DVD package from Platinum Disc, simply titled 'Mobster Movies'. Though every film in the package is all but unknown, each, like "Port of New York", is turning out to be a minor gem from the 1940's and '50's.
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Has Its Moments
dougdoepke16 May 2015
Good gritty docu-drama of the procedural sort made popular by The Naked City (1948). Here we follow a Customs agent (Rober) and a Treasury agent (Brady) as they track down a gang of narcotics smugglers headed by a hirsute Yul Brynner in his first film. Unlike most docu- dramas of the period, this one is not overly diverted by procedure. Instead, the drama plays out in pretty tense fashion. Happily, the rather complex storyline is fashioned smoothly by director Benedek, despite the many segues. Then too, the live shots of New York are especially revealing to a non-New Yorker like myself, even if they are decades old.

The faces in the movie also furnish a boost. There're the three gimlet-eyed hard cases (Challee, Stevens, Kellogg), the exotic looking Brynner, and the two meek-looking fall-guys (Blake, Carter), while Rober and Brady are appropriately clean-cut and strong-jawed. Brynner, of course, is particularly notable for his effortless accent and Euro-Asian appearance. The latter seems appropriate for a time when the Cold War was heating up. Thus Hollywood's lauding law enforcement at a tense time comes as no surprise.

Except for Brynner and a couple jarring scenes as when Brynner turns on the disloyal Stevens, there's nothing particularly memorable here. Just solid entertainment done in highly competent fashion.
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8/10
Yul Brynner with his natural hair !
darielles2 March 2006
I thought this short film was good for a 1940ish B- movie film. It's about an opium smuggling in New York in the 1940's. The sinister opium dealer Paul Vicola played by Yul Brynner was excellent. Brynner's character in the film was the only interesting character but there is also Scott Brady 's character as the agent who try to catch Brynner's character. Vicola is so evil but suave, since Brynner had played evil roles throughout his movie career this is even the evilest role he had ever played. Also, Brynner's character Paul kills his girlfriend Toni. My favorite lines in the film :

First scene when Toni tries to escape from Paul

Toni: I went to station to my get my ticket

Paul: (looking through Toni's purse) And you lost your ticket on the way home...Toni, where you planning on going?

Toni: Near the west coast, then travel whenever place I can get.

Paul:(angrily) You are most ungrateful, Toni(pulling down the blinds and moves closer) most ungrateful.

Second scene when Paul kills Toni

Paul: You are a frightened woman, you're nervous and a lie. Toni: What do you mean, Paul?

Paul: You are bad risk, Toni. A very risk! (grabs his handkerchief to smother Toni) (smother Toni until there's no life in her)

Paul: Die you, bitch!

What really amazed me in this film was Yul Brynner with his natural hair! If you want see Brynner before his shaved dome then this is the movie for you.
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7/10
"You're A Bad Risk Toni,.......A Very Bad Risk"
seymourblack-117 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Like "T-Men" (1947) and "Trapped" (1949), this documentary-style film noir focuses on the dangerous work carried out by the men of the U.S. Treasury Department and in this case, they're targeting a well-organised drug-smuggling gang whose methods are particularly violent. The action is fast-moving and presented very realistically (thanks to extensive use of location shooting) and the atmosphere is consistently tense. Probably its most striking characteristic, however, is the way in which it, so convincingly, conveys just how consistently life-threatening the routine activities of the criminals and the Treasury agents are on a daily basis.

A few miles outside of New York harbour, at 3.30am one morning, an attractive young woman called Toni Cardell (K.T.Stevens) is out on a deck of the "S S Florentine" and watches as the ship's purser, who's on a lower deck, throws a life-raft into the sea and dives in after it. He's soon picked up by a passing motor boat into which he throws a bag and the men in the boat immediately stab him to death and throw his body overboard before making a quick exit.

Later that morning, after all the passengers have left the ship, a customs officer discovers that a very-high value shipment of raw narcotics which was destined for medical use, has gone missing and as the purser knew the combination for the vault in which the narcotics were kept and had also disappeared along with his papers, he naturally becomes the focus of the investigation that follows.

Toni's been involved in drug-smuggling or some time and is the girlfriend of Paul Vicola (Yul Brynner) who's the head of the gang. She gets cold feet about being so closely involved with a murder situation and becomes desperate to leave. Her debonair boyfriend isn't prepared to entertain the idea and also refuses to give her any money to quit, so she contacts the Treasury Department to offer information for a pay-off. Before she's able to tell them all she knows, Vicola catches up with her and having found out what she's done, strangles her to death.

Using some information that they'd obtained from Toni and working on hunches, Narcotics Agent Jim Flannery (Richard Rober) and Customs Agent Mickey Waters (Scott Brady) stake-out a locker on Penn Station and wait for someone to collect the parcel of narcotics that they know it contains. When they follow the messenger who collects the parcel, he leads them to a nightclub where he delivers the drugs to an entertainer called Dolly Carney (Arthur Blake). When they arrest Carney and take him in for questioning, he soon provides them with the leads they need to hunt down Vicola and bring an end to his gang's activities.

As Vicola, Yul Brynner (in his first screen role) is superficially very genteel but also incredibly ruthless. His character is obsessed with eliminating risks and is quite chilling when he makes some remarks (e.g. "you're a bad risk Toni.....a very bad risk"). The scene in which he murders Toni at her dressing table is brilliantly set up with both the murderer and the victim seen in the multiple reflections that the mirror creates. This is just one of many examples that this film contains of the talent of cinematographer George E Diskant whose shadowy compositions contribute so much to the powerful and often threatening atmosphere of the piece. Despite its low budget, B-movie status, "Port of New York" is enjoyable to watch and packs a lot of story into its 82 minutes.
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6/10
Port in a Storm.
Spikeopath26 June 2015
Port of New York is directed by Laszlo Benedek and written by Eugene Ling. It stars Scott Brady, Richard Rober, Yul Brynner and K.T. Stevens. Music is by Sol Kaplan and cinematography by George Diskant.

Two federal agents work to crack a gang of murderous drug dealers who are operating out of the Port of New York.

The strengths here are obvious, Diskant's photography provides atmospheric dread, the location shooting of New York is superb, and the smoothly villainous portrayal by Brynner is on the money and sets him on the path to the "A" list. Pic is kinda semi-documentary in style, complete with narration of course, and it's often violent enough to keep one hooked to the end.

Minor film noir but not without merits. 6/10
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5/10
Pretty routine
AAdaSC14 May 2013
Yul Brynner (Paul) heads up a drug gang in New York that includes heavies William Challee (Leo) and Neville Brand (Ike). Scott Brady (Mickey) and Richard Rober (Jim) are on his case. Richard Rober should have been cast above Scott Brady, and trust a woman, Lynne Carter (Lili) to mess everything up at the end, eh!

The film starts in that documentary style with a voice-over. It goes on a bit too much and the film gets bogged down and a bit slow with the arrival of entertainer Arthur Blake (Dolly). I lost track of what was going on for a while and then found myself watching people in the dark running about and fighting each other - whoa....what's going on? Who's who? I'm afraid that was the result of my mind wandering because the film got a bit boring.

Anyway, Yul Brynner is the standout in the cast but it all seems to be quite a predictable story with a climax that could have been better. It seems as if some tension is building towards the end of the film, and then it's all over in a sudden. It's not a bad film, but neither is it particularly good.
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8/10
Good Little Narcotics Thriller
zardoz-139 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Before Laslo Benedek made "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando, he made "Port of New York" with Yul Brynner. This concise crime thriller about heroin traffic is taut, one of the many that appeared after the Production Code Administration amended its rules to allow for the use of narcotics in movies. The break out movie that made movies like "Port of New York" possible was the Dick Powell thriller "To the Ends of the Earth." Billed as another excerpt from Government files, "Port of New York" concerns an investigation by Customs agents working with the Bureau of Narcotics. When a box of narcotics is found filled with sand and a purser aboard the ship vanishes without a trace, the agents start snooping around and a pretty young woman, Toni Cardell (K.T. Stevens), offers to help them. Before she can help them, her suave boyfriend Paul strangled her. Later, the agents get another lead involving a nightclub performer, Dolly Carney (Arthur Blake), who is arrested when a messenger shows up with a box of pure heroin. Our heroes follow another lead that ends up with one of the, Waters, getting a bullet in the back and being dumped in the ocean. The Bureau of Narcotics agent is predictably determined to finish the case. Jim Flannery (Richard Rober)impersonates a go-between and meets evil drug lord Yul Brynner. Naturally, complications arise and the sagacious Vicola steers clear of the appointed rendezvous to exchange $200 grand for the heroin. The drug gangsters are appropriately ruthless and kill without a qualm. This was Yul Brynner's film debut and he delivers a terrific performance, savoring each line of dialogue. Look carefully and you will spot future "Laredo" television star Neville Brand as one of Brynner's henchmen.
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6/10
Yul Brynnur is "the Opium King!"
mark.waltz19 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Tension is everywhere in this low-budget film noir that rivals "High Noon" in a clock-watching suspense. Unlike that western with psychological overtones, "Port of New York" is set in present day New York and deals with the Narcotic Squad's attempt to break an opium ring that is run by Yul Brynnur. Two years before he took Broadway by storm in "The King and I", Brynnur made his film debut in this low-budget classic. It wasn't until the film version of "The King and I" that he officially became a movie star, but this is a rare chance to see him when he was an unknown. That cat-eyed future soap diva, K.T. Stevens (best known as the veiled mama from hell, Vanessa Prentiss, on "The Young and the Restless") gets a Lizabeth Scott look, having done several years of featured roles, in the part of Brynnur's moll who pays dearly for her fear of being involved in criminal activities. (For other interesting roles Ms. Stevens played on screen, catch "The Great Man's Lady" and "Harriett Craig", where she shared scenes with legends Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford.)

With Scott Brady on Brynnur's trail, backed by newsreel like narration not leaving out any detail, it is obvious how crime once again won't pay. Great location footage of New York (particularly a shot of the elevated train station at Canal Street above the Manhattan Bridge, no longer at that spot) makes this of historical importance, as well as the fact it was one of few films to tackle the subject of drug trafficking. The "B" studios at this time (Eagle Lion, Lippert, Screen Guild, PRC and Monogram) gave us some of the more interesting film noirs to study, and this one is among the goodies. Brynnur leaves no stone unturned in his performance of a ruthless killer. This gives a new meaning to Mrs. Anna's question, "Shall We Dance?".
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4/10
Your Treasury Department at Work.
rmax3048232 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a pretty routine crime drama involving narcotics in New York. The SS Florentine docks and unships a crate of medical dope but instead of dope there is nothing but sand in the crate. The purser has stolen it, with the complicity of one of the passengers, a Miss Toni Cardell. Two Treasury agents, Scott Brady and Richard Rober, latch on to the case and track the dope through a network of heavies and murderers led by Yul Brynner. They succeed with the help of the U. S. Coast Guard and at the cost of Brady's life.

Right away, though, I had a slight problem in that nobody anywhere is named Miss Toni Cardell. It's the kind of echt-schiksa name that somebody might dream up because it sounded right, like "Ellie Arroway" in Carl Sagan's novel, "Contact." But just try to find a name like Toni Cardell in a phone book, especially in Shanghai. I dare you.

Secondly, the crate carrying the dope is opened by customs agents. It's a big crate, the size of a wardrobe, and it's filled entirely with sand. A reasonable inference is that a LOT of dope is missing, yet when the box of narcotics is finally discovered in a locker at Grand Central Station, it's only big enough to contain, say, three dictionaries.

Those, of course, are minor things. Yet this is a minor movie. It's a routine track-'em-down mystery with T-men putting themselves in danger by posing as somebody else. Scott Brady is okay. He's an Irishman with Burt Lancaster's habit of sticking out his jaw in a defiant scowl when he's angry. It's rather likable. His partner, Richard Rober, on the other hand, has practically nothing to offer, a bland, acceptably handsome contract player. He's the one who should have been knocked off early on, allowing Scott Brady to continue the chase.

Best performance, hands down -- Yul Brynner with hair as the Vladimir Putin look-alike who heads the whole operation. What a background the guy had. A Jew from Sakhalin Island off the Siberian coast, a stint at the Sorbonne in Paris, a trapeze artist. "The King and I" brought him fame but left him socked into a domineering and unsubtle persona. Here, he gives his most earnest performance. He's suave, handsome, delicate even. And -- this being 1949, the year when the Cold War became an undeniable fact -- his Russian accent fits the temporal template. He's better here than he ever was later.

But, taken as a whole, what we have here is an inexpensive Eagle Lion crime drama with self-sacrificing heroes and ruthless villains. Nice to see the Coast Guard in action. Even if, to pump up the action, the writers and Lazlo Benedict, the director, have Brynner shooting his snub-nosed revolver at an 83-footer armed with a 20 millimeter cannon on the bow.

Diverting, yes, but not much new.
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9/10
The mortal danger of the drug traffick both for profiteers and FBI agents, already in 1949
clanciai2 September 2018
This is very much in the style of the documentaries of Henry Hathaway the preceding years, giving a very high strung criminal story of extreme suspense an almost documentary quality. Yul Brynner is superb as the criminal in chief, his suave cruelty earns a place among the most notorious cinema bandits on the screen, and he sustains his character to the end - you almost fall to the temptation to like him, for his charm and very sleek politeness, and you must understand the women that fall to his fascination, although he reckons them as nothing unless they suit his purposes. Richard Rober as Flannery is also very good, almost a Dana Andrews type. Another great asset enhancing the general quality of this very hardboiled drama is the dramatic music by Sol Kaplan. This is an underrated noir well in line with Henry Hathaway's best quality and shouldn't be missed.
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5/10
Low budget drug smuggling
Leofwine_draca1 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
PORT OF NEW YORK is a low budget crime thriller of 1949 in which a couple of narcotics agents go up against a criminal organisation smuggling drugs in through the New York docks. As a film it's very much par for the course and a product of its era, mostly a police procedural with a few scenes of interest here and there. There's a large cast but the characters tend to be underwritten so it's difficult to care about whether the heroes live or die; this is the kind of genre that would reach its peak some 20 to 30 years later in the films made by Roy Scheider and his contemporaries. Chiefly of interest is the casting of a youthful Yul Brynner - with hair! - as the bad guy, supported by a debuting Neville Brand as a snarling henchman.
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7/10
If You Like Fisticuffs!
Corr288 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Had a chance to sit down and watch PORT OF NEW YORK some time ago and I have to say that this is a terrific little noir/crime/thriller! Told in "documentary style" as in such films as HOUSE ON 92ND STREET, THE NAKED CITY and HE WALKED BY NIGHT, the movie is swiftly paced, violent with a decent amount of suspense and plenty of fisticuffs. Scott Brady and Richard Rober play a couple of federal agents, one a customs agent and the other a treasury agent out to stop the distribution of illegal "contraband", i.e., opium, that came in on a ship but was smuggled off by drug dealers. The leader of the drug operation is Yul Brynner, sporting a head of dark, wavy hair and appearing in his first film role I believe. Brynner is suave and refined and listens to avant-garde piano music but it is clear that he is also quite cold and violent as the bodies start to pile up. Plenty of action to keep one interested and wonderful direction from Laslo Benedek. The real star though is cinematographer George E. Diskant. Filmed entirely on location in New York City, the film bursts to life with magnificent images of the Big Apple and some truly wonderful shots of the NYC maritime scene. This is a rather obscure, "B" noir/crime film that was a pleasant surprise and a movie that all fans of the genre should check out.
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7/10
Feds Fight Narcotics BEFORE It Was a Big Problem!
vitaleralphlouis15 September 2008
This fine crime drama shows the work Federal agents in Customs, Narcotics and the Coast Guard did to fight the drug trade in 1949's New York City. This is known as Yul Brynner's first movie, but the real star is Scott Brady.

With 59 years having past, I found this movie an unintended heartbreak. Young people might not believe this but in 1949 the narcotics trade was limited to small areas of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles --- not all 50 states, not every town in America. The Federal agents portrayed in this movie might have just cried if they could have seen 14 years into the future when narcotics swept across the USA like a hurricane and infected our lives, our streets, our schools.

All this was done with the Federal government opening the door wide. When LBJ appointed crime-friendly Ramsey Clark as Attorney-General and appointed crime-friendly judges to the Supreme Court, this and other corrosive steps were applauded by Newsweek, Time, CBS and others. New York City lost 20% of its population and literally went bankrupt in the late '70's --- primarily because of unchecked crime. The 1966 movie "Death Wish" portrays this era well. This was your parents and grandparents era. It could not have happened without them. When you have time, search for their stash and tell them off.
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6/10
Paul what happened? Your not yourself!
sol-kay22 March 2006
***SPOILERS*** Keeping the ports and borders safe for the exploding epidemic of the post-WWII flow of illegal and dangerous drugs US Custom agents together with the FBI and the NYPD get wind of a big drug shipment that's been brought into New York Harbor on the luxury cruise liner Florntine.

Checking the ships cargo manifest the custom agents Micky Waters and Jim Flannery, Scott Brady & Richard Rober, come across a box of dangerous drugs slated to be used at a local hospital that's missing and has been replaced with 100 pounds of worthless and harmless sand. Later the person responsible for the switch is found floating in the East River murdered by his contacts in order to keep his mouth shut.

The leader of this gang of drug traffickers is the Suave cultured and music loving Paul Vicola, Yul Brynner. Vicola likes to keep things close to his very expensive vest and feels that his woman Toni Cardell, K.T Stevens, is a bit unhinged over what's been going on and has her followed by his hoods to see what she's up to. Toni, as Paul suspected, is about to give him and his gang up to the police and then, with what is expected to be a $25,000.00 reward, leave New York for the West Coast.

Getting Toni alone in her apartment Paul finds that she's about to turn him and is boys in and strangles her to death, this as custom Agent Waters is sitting in the lobby of Toni's apartment building providing her with government protection. Waters and his partner Flannery later, on a tip from the late Toni Cardell, check out the lockers at Penn. Station and find the missing drug shipment, cut and ready to be sold on the streets, and set up a sting to find out who the locker belongs to.

It turns out that the locker's contents are taken out and delivered, by special messenger, to entertainer Dolly Carney, Arthur Blake, who's fronting for Vicola's mob as a delivery boy. Putting Carney under arrest he breaks down and implicates Vicola's middle-man in this operation Leo Strosser, William Challee, who's involved in a ship maintenance business on the New York piers, a perfect place and cover to get drugs into the country.

Risking their lives both Waters and Flannery go under cover to get the goods on both Strasser and his boss Vicola but at, what later turned out to be, the cost of Micky Waters life. Carney who's let out of police custody ends up being kidnapped by Vicola's goons and after telling them what they wanted to know, about this Wyley (Frank Fenton) coming from Canada to buy the stolen drugs, is thrown out a hotel window and made to look like it was suicide.

The authorities take Wyley into custody with Agent Flannery going undercover impersonating him to get to the head of the drug gang Paul Vicola that leads to the movies exciting shoot-out at the Port of New York between Vicola and his hoodlum with the US Coast Guard and Custom agent Flannery.

Yul Brynner with a head of hair steals the movies acting honors with his portrayal of gangster Paul Vicola who's as deadly and murderous when he's in business as a big time drug trafficker as he's sophisticated and debonair as a lover of the world of musics classical symphonies and piano concerto's
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8/10
Tough, gritty and exciting!
MartinHafer6 October 2016
"Port of New York" is the sort of film noir picture I like. It's tough, violent and very exciting...and it does this with a small budget and mostly no-name actors. The only 'big' actor is Yul Brynner but this was his first film and he was hardly a star.

The film begins in a semi-documentary style--with a narrator and film footage of a drug dealer being murdered and the discovery of a box of pharmaceuticals that is instead filled with sand. Federal agents get involved and the trail eventually leads to a very tough criminal boss (Brynner) who doesn't mind leaving a long trail of dead bodies.

What I loved about the film was how heartless it was. Folks are murdered in cold blood--nothing pretty about this. Brutal and tough...as well as well written and exciting throughout. Despite its being a cheap film there is nothing second-rate about it!
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7/10
The Florentine Case
richardchatten24 August 2019
A sternly-narrated, documentary-style crime film atmospherically filmed on location by George Diskant about a gang of ruthless narcotics smugglers led by a swarthy and creepy young Yul Brynner (billed fourth in his film debut).

Richard Rober (killed a couple of years later in a car accident) makes a personable hero, several people get ruthlessly murdered and the low budget production and rather sordid subject matter complement each other well.
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1/10
God Awful
arfdawg-117 May 2014
Prints for this movie are horrible.

Opens with neat scenes of NY circa 1945. The film is about the flow of narcotics into NY harbor.

The movie is horrible. The music in no way reflects what's going on in the film. It's as if someone stuck a record on. It actually detracts do much from the movie that it becomes annoying.

It's not really a film noir so much as it is a Dragnet like movie

The Plot

Agents Mickey Waters and John Flannery re-team to investigate the theft of medicinal narcotics from the S.S. Florentine.

The vicious gang responsible is headed by the ruthless, but debonair Paul Vicola, who doesn't hesitate to murder anyone who stands in his way. Vicola's girlfriend is garroted when she becomes unreliable, and when go-between nightclub comic Dolly Carney poses a risk, he is thrown from his apartment window.

After Waters is shot and killed trying to break into the gang's Brooklyn-based yacht club front, Flannery decides to go undercover and pose as a San Francicco drug dealer.

The gang is smoked out and after a furious gun battle, Vicola is apprehended and his gang broken.
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