Force Of Evil and The End Of Enterprise --- Part One
Shady lawyer John Garfield's big idea in Force Of Evil is to turn the numbers racket into a legal lottery. In light of state(s)-sanctioned gambling since 1948, that sounds like a doable plan. In fact, pre-coding Warren William or Bill Powell could have managed it without getting off their barstools. For agenda-driven Abraham Polonsky however, Force Of Evil was serious business. Corruption inherent in numbers betting was shorthand for capitalism itself so far as he viewed it. Abe interview-said later that gangsterism is like capitalism, or the other way around. He was able to put that view across with Force Of Evil thanks to whopping success of Body and Soul, written by Polonsky and starring John Garfield. Now they were teamed under AP's first-time direction under the Enterprise Company banner,
Enterprise was a brainchild of David Loew and industry connected partners. David was a son of MGM founder Marcus Loew and so doors opened readily to him. He'd produced a half-dozen or so features since 1941, most arty, several outstanding (The Southerner, The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami) and one that hit big, A Night In Casablanca.
Force Of Evil is lately out on Blu-Ray from Olive, looking how we wish all noirs could given HD delivery. What reservations I had about the show dissolved straightaway thanks to Blu-rescuing, proof again that opinion (at least mine) upticks plenty when a rarity is at last decently viewed. 16mm and previous discs were pallid representation of what now seems a visual equal to any noir made. Quality does matter --- most of anything when it comes to a Force Of Evil. Distribution has been a Parcheesi board since MGM handled the 1948 (mostly '49) release.
The only meaningful hit
Force Of Evil was first to deal foursquare with the so-called "numbers racket." This was nickel-to-dollars wagering on three-number combinations that changed daily, winners being those who chose the one coming up that particular day. It seemed a harmless bet to otherwise law-abiders, none of whom realized grand scales on which the system operated. By the late forties, numbers were said to be the largest ongoing racket in the
|Among Force Of Evil Highlights: Detailed Look at How the Numbers Racket Worked|
Garfield and crew spent two April '48 weeks doing location in Brooklyn and