Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1951 - THE ENFORCER, good Bogart crime drama

Pretty good and short Bogart film about a gang of professional killers.  Bogart plays the District Attorney trying to bring them to justice.

The Enforcer, has some interesting things going on in it.  The cast with the exception of Bogart is  unknown character actors. The cops and crooks actually look like the real thing for a change.  The photography is by Robert Burks.  Burks was Hitchcock's longtime photographer on most of his greatest films.  He gives the film a nice noirish look.


The film is blessed with no love interest for any of the characters.  There is none of that "honey don't go out and fight crime stuff" to deal with that always slows the story down.  The action is subtle and nasty which is not an easy combination to achieve.

The screenplay is composed of a series of flashbacks within flashbacks, but somehow that narrative  structure works without become confusing.  There is a rather stupid plot device to build up some suspense towards the end of the film that is pretty contrived.  But the film wraps things up with an exciting conclusion.

By this time in his career, Humphrey Bogart had been acting long enough that he could do a part like this without breaking a sweat.   Bogart always was a pretty commanding presence in a film and he was probably one of the few actors who could spew out this kind of "tough guy" dialog without sounding silly.


Television has beaten this type of crime story to death, but The Enforcer  still does a very good job telling an exciting and interesting story.

87 minutes.