Purple Gang, The (1959)

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A “youthful rat-pack of terrorists”!
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US / 85 minutes / bw / Allied Artists Dir: Frank McDonald Pr: Lindsley Parsons Scr: Jack DeWitt Cine: Ellis Carter Cast: Barry Sullivan, Robert Blake, Elaine Edwards, Marc Cavell, Jody Lawrance, Suzy Marquette, Joseph Turkel, Victor Creatore, Paul Dubov, Dirk London, Kathleen Lockhart, Nestor Paiva, Lou Krugman, Robert Anderson, Mauritz Hugo, Danny Mummert, John Close, Ralph Sanford, George Baxter, Paul McGuire, David Tomack, Don Haggerty, Congressman James Roosevelt.

This gives the impression—complete with pompous introduction from a political stuffed shirt—of being a dramatized documentary about the real-life Purple Gang, which terrorized Detroit during the 1920s and 1930s, but in fact its moments of consonance with the historical reality are fairly few and far between, and usually consist of the scripters merely incorporating a stray aspect of the truth in hopes it’ll somehow stand in for all the rest. Just to add to the air of divorcement from reality, while the setting is stated to be the late 1920s and the early 1930s, there’s no effort, through costume or effects, to place the action anywhere else but in the 1940s.

Congressman Roosevelt introduces our tale.

The stuffed shirt in question is Congressman James Roosevelt, Chairman (it says here) of the Committee on Narcotics of the California Delegation in the Congress of the United States, who bizarrely addresses most of his remarks not to the camera but slightly to our right of it. After he’s done, we then get a scrolled legend aiming to persuade us further of the movie’s authenticity:

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Tokyo After Dark (1959)

US / 81 minutes / bw / Nacirema, Paramount Dir: Norman T. Herman Pr & Scr: Norman T. Herman, Marvin Segal Cine: William Margulies Cast: Michi Kobi, Richard Long, Lawrence Dobkin, Paul Dubov, Teru Shimada, Robert Okazaki, Carlyle Mitchell, Frank Kumagai, John Brinkley, Edo Mita, Lowell Brown, Don Keigo Takeuchi, Jerry Adler, Mazaji Yamamoto.

Tokyo After Dark - 0 opener

Sergeant Robert “Bob” Douglas (Long), a somewhat overzealous American MP, is nearing the end of his tour of duty in Tokyo and plans, on his return to the US, to take with him his fiancée, chanteuse Sumi Fujita (Kobi). One night he comes across a pair of Japanese teenagers and, stupidly, draws his gun. The next he knows is that, in his tussle with one of the kids, he has accidentally pulled the trigger and killed the other.

Tokyo After Dark - 2 Bob realizes what he's done

Bob (Richard Long) faces the hideous realization of what he’s done.

Tokyo After Dark - 1 Sumi sings at the Ginza Sukiyaki

Sumi (Michi Kobi), singing at the Ginza Sukiyaki.

His kindly superior officer, Major J. Bradley (Dobkin), believes Bob’s explanation that the death was an accident and at first assumes the whole affair can be Continue reading