Unaccountably drab telling of the rise & fall of Arnie Rothstein, the Prohibition Era Jewish mobster who made his mark as a financier, rubbing out figures . . . on account ledgers. There’s not an ounce of period flavor or noir atmosphere under Joseph Newman’s paceless direction, and Carl Guthrie’s lensing is over-lit & under characterized. The terrain is juicy & there’s plenty of acting talent on hand (Mickey Rooney, Joseph Schildkraut, Jack Carson, William Demerest), even a music score from Franz Waxman, but the script is a boring mess (is it really by Jo Swerling?) and the leads (David Janssen, glumly mumbling, and Dianne Foster, grimly overacting) are just plain miserable. Think what a tough, budget-conscious director like Don Siegel & Phil Karlson could have done with this. A real waste.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Why not pick up on this film’s title and catch THE ROARING TWENTIES/’39, Raoul Walsh’s ultra-professional gloss on the era with Cagney in classic form & Bogie when he was still playing villains.