A top syndicate crime boss and his corrupt politicians, make multi-million deals and order murders , until the vicious pattern finally catches up to him.
New York Confidential is a 1955 American film noir crime film directed by Russell Rouse starring Broderick Crawford and Richard Conte as New York gangsters, and based on the novel New York: Confidential! (1948) by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer.
Always The Syndicate First
Broderick Crawford borrows a great deal from his Academy Award winning Willie Stark from All The King’s Men in playing underworld boss Frank Lupo in New York Confidential. Crawford is a combination of Stark and Don Corleone and he doesn’t get the best of it.
Like Corleone and Stark, Lupo has trouble with his children, but unlike Stark, Lupo has a daughter played by Anne Bancroft. Now if Bancroft was content to be Connie Corleone she could have any number of willing suitors who are in the family business working for dad. She aspires to more and her father’s reputation kills off any chance she can marry respectably.
Not that respectability guarantees honesty. When old line money WASP William Forrest pulls the rug out from under a multi-million dollar deal the Syndicate is bankrolling they decide to take care of him in the true Syndicate manner. Crawford though he opposes the idea gets the contract and from their the dominoes start to fall.
One thing however when the fires threatens, organized crime knows how to start backfires to make sure the organization itself is not touched. A whole lot of dead bodies start to pile up before the film ends.
Also starring in the film is Richard Conte playing an out of town hit man who Crawford takes a shine to and has him stay in New York. Conte was always great in noir films and he certainly is here.
New York Confidential touches upon a lot of the issues involving systemic corruption much the same way The Godfather films do. Of course it does not have the budget those blockbusters had nor an unforgettable music score, still New York Confidential makes it point. It’s still a valid film for today’s audience.
The staff at Variety magazine praised the cast in their review of the film, “Among crime exposes New York Confidential stacks up as one of the better-made entries, thanks to a well-fashioned story and good performances by a cast of familiar names … Conte does a topnotch job of making a coldblooded killer seem real and Crawford is good as the chairman of the crime board, as is Marilyn Maxwell as his girl friend. Anne Bancroft, showing continuing progress and talent, scores with a standout performance of Crawford’s unhappy daughter.”
Critic Dennis Schwartz was disappointed in the film. He wrote, “Russell Rouse’s New York Confidential is a crime thriller that is a formulaic exposé of the rackets, and is not quite as good as another such film—The Enforcer … New York Confidential was never exciting, tense or eye-opening. Its narrative was a cliché driven mob story that was only mildly diverting and even though the performances were energetically delivered, it still tasted like a stale salami sandwich.”
Mob machinations featuring Richard Conte as the up and coming hit man and Broderick Crawford as an established boss
For years there was no decent copy of “New York Confidential” available for home viewing, but now there is a nice widescreen copy, so that we can fully engage with this movie without distraction. And some movie it is. It’s really very, very good, holding its own with anything produced today that’s in the same general vein.
Broderick Crawford is outstanding as a mob boss who maintains the rough edges of his youth and climb upwards but now is as much a businessman as anything, although hits are essential at times. Richard Conte is also outstanding as a Chicago hit man brought in by Crawford to rub out an out of line underling who has stepped out of line by killing a mobster without permission. Mike Mazurki, who is Crawford’s usual muscle, has to step aside for Conte, who proceeds by a combination of brains, wit and luck to become Crawford’s number two man. Anne Bancroft is Crawford’s rebellious daughter who cannot make her own life due to her father’s notoriety. Celia Lovsky is Crawford’s mother, who sees that the old days of blood and violence really never end.
Crawford is involved in a complex oil deal that involves Washington insiders. This subplot is intimately connected to the fortunes of both Conte and Crawford, and it gives the script a chance to characterize the strong resemblance and interactions between the Mafia and denizens of Washington’s power corridors.
This is a strong film noir.