An undercover officer tracks waterfront corruption from California to New Orleans and back.
The Damico Dilligence. The Mob is directed by Robert Parrish and adapted to screenplay by William Bowers from the novel written by Ferguson Findley. It stars Broderick Crawford, Betty Buehler, Richard Kiley, Otto Hulett, Matt Crowley, Neville Brand, Ernest Borgnine and Jean Alexander. Music is by George Duning and cinematography by Joseph Walker. Cop Johnny Damico (Crawford)is fooled by a mob killer during the slaying of a witness and is chastised by his superiors. Sent undercover to infiltrate the waterfront organisation to flush out the killer, Damico faces danger at every turn. He's a cop who is hell bent on atoning for what could basically be a career ruining error. It's this core essence that really oils the pistons of this tough and under seen slice of crime cinema. Awash with characters so shifty it's hard to locate a moral compass in the mix, director Robert Parrish (Cry Danger) takes a standard under cover plot and elevates it to a riveting tale of corruption, paranoia and the search for redemption at any cost. William Bowers' script positively pings with the sort of dialogue you could cut a joint of beef with, with most of it spat from the mouth of the excellent Crawford. No matter what the situation, what the danger, Damico has a quip or a put down to always exude a calm and carefree menace, he literally is a sardonic miserablist who is unflappable. It's a wonderful characterisation that's helped enormously by a screenplay that contains some surprises, with a nifty plot line standing out that sees Damico hired by the mob to enact a hit on himself! Wonderful. Parrish keeps the atmosphere side of things on the boil, always ensuring that Damico could be snuffed out at any moment, while Walker's (The Velvet Touch) photography is tight to the plotting. Around Crawford are a raft of familiar faces from film noir, with the villain roll call considerably boosted by Borgine and Brand. From the quite excellent opening murder played out in the nighttime rain, story unfolds in a whirl of sarcasm, set-ups, machismo, stand-offs and mobster machinations. The Mob, under seen and under valued, add it to your "to see lists", especially if you be a fan of Brod Crawford. 8/10