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Force of Evil (1948)

John Garfield , Thomas Gomez , Abraham Polonsky  |  PG |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $15.99  
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor, Howland Chamberlain, Roy Roberts
  • Directors: Abraham Polonsky
  • Writers: Abraham Polonsky, Ira Wolfert
  • Producers: Bob Roberts
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: May 11, 2004
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001US6DC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,933 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Force of Evil" on IMDb

Special Features


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Garfield Noir May 18, 2004
By dantes
Force of Evil is a fine example of 1940s film noir. Polonsky's direction is crisp and the pacing perfect throughout. John Garfield turns in an above average performance as Joe Morse, a lawyer turned enabler for mob boss Ben Tucker, who is played by a not entirely convincing Roy Roberts.
Force's plot turns around the effort of Tucker and Joe Morse to monopolize "policy" (i.e., the numbers racket) in New York, and Morse's effort to keep his brother, who runs a small-time numbers bank, from being crushed in the process. It is the brother-to-brother aspect of the plot that provides the real juice for this noir, with Thomas Gomez turning in a riveting performance as Joe's brother, Leo Morse. The female lead, Doris Lowry, is played well by Beatrice Pearson, but, in the end, the character stands to serve only as a sounding board for Joe as he struggles with what he has done to himself, and to his brother.
Technically, it looks as though Artisan, a perennial purveyor of poor quality dvds, has finally gotten a release right. The transfer here is crisp with solid blacks and a serviceable grayscale. The only obvious flaw on the disc can be found in the chapter selections, where the stills for the last two scenes are reversed. The audio is quite acceptable, and the score for this work is incrementally more memorable than most. As for features on this dvd, there are none -- it's the film, and just the film. However, because Artisan must learn to walk before it runs, the absence of special features is forgivable in light of the effort Artisan has finally put into getting the film right.
All things considered, I recommend this dvd to those wondering what film noir is all about, and strongly recommend it to confirmed fans of the genre. If you know what noir is about, and are not a fan, this dvd is decidedly not for you.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Look At Big City Corruption August 3, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Abrabham Polonsky's 1948 film Force of Evil is drenched with cynicism, corruption, greed, and love. Capturing the lure of noir, Force of Evil is a violent ballet which depicts the struggle of two brothers vieing for a rung on the urban ladder of existence. Joe Morse ( John Garfield) is a Wall Street lawyer with connections to an underworld kingpin. Morse is not content with being a straitlaced lawyer. Longing for a big score he becomes embroiled in a plan to drive the neighborhood number rackets out of business. Morse's greed is compromised by his protective instincts for his older brother Leo ( Thomas Gomez) who happens to operate one of the small policy games. Morse's morals and emotions are further stirred by Doris ( Beatrice Pearson) , Leo's secretary who innocently is scarred by the veil of crime. A dichotomy emerges as each brother's values about life come to the surface. Gomez is outstanding and upstages Garfield in a memorable performance. Although Leo runs a small numbers operation, he is a proud and honest man that remains loyal to his workers. He has provided poor neighborhood people with jobs and extra income and justifies the numbers racket as a simple five and dime game that might bring a windfall to a blue collar laborer. Conversely, Joe has it all- Wall Street law office, secretaries, and expensive suits. Yet Joe's success is partly due to his representation of his most influential client-mob boss Frank Tucker (Beau Bridges). Joe cannot break his ties with the mob and instead becomes more involved with them. Polonsky's location shooting in Manhattan adds the concrete testure and intimidation that shadows the film. Read more ›
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Force Indeed May 19, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
A richly provocative movie that could serve as a bible of film making, "Force of Evil" succeeds on a number of planes , establishing itself not only as classic noir, but as a reflection of its period. Visually, the compositions are exciting, from the elegant decor gilding the halls of power to the closeup of horror that punctuates Bower's brutal murder, the rich complexity seldom falters. There are echoes here of Eisenstein, and one can't help noticing the presence of Robert Aldrich as Assistant Director, an apprenticeship that would payoff in the visually similar "Kiss Me Deadly", suggesting that Aldrich served for a time as trustee of the blacklisted Polonsky estate. The script occasionally rises to the level of poetic Blank Verse, and is expertly intoned by John Garfield, Beatrice Pearson, and Thomas Gomez in a sweatily memorable performance. Thematically, Marxist Polonsky and co-scripter Ira Wolfert take a shot at the Darwinist world of capital, where big fish survive by eating smaller fish or by muscling in on the catch (Ficco's strategy), while working class minnows offer up dimes and quarters in hopes of instant metamorphosis. It's an ugly world where corruption and greed reach from top to bottom. Since the Production Code of the time couldn't leave matters in an unregenerate state, an upbeat ending is tacked on that defies the logic of what has gone before. Nevertheless, the sharply-etched images remain, vividly - memorably. And it's ironic that any intended remake will have to consider that the biggest fish of all has taken over the numbers racket and renamed it - the State Lottery. I wonder if Polonsky was amused.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 Stars. Classic Noir Cinematograghy--Excellent Use Of Light And...
John Garfield stars in and narrates this film. He was a brilliant actor. A 1948 period piece. I very much enjoyed watching this film.
Published 4 months ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb transfer of a mostly engrossing film
John Garfield plays a scummy attorney in Force of Evil - an often hair-raising/nail-biting noir thriller with phenomenal production values a la MGM. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nick Zegarac
2.0 out of 5 stars Simply Overrated.
Viewed: 3/14
Rate: 4

3/14: Force of Evil feels unconvincing in its entirety. While John Garfield is a virtuoso, everybody else is underwhelming in his presence. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Math Expert
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film Noir!!
John Garfield is at his best in this tale of a crooked lawyer working for the numbers racket. His brother Thomas Gomez is wonderful in this movie, he practically steals the movie... Read more
Published 9 months ago by john watson bruce
4.0 out of 5 stars The deal was great, good seller, movie was great too. Thank you
Definitely a well worth while movie to watch - thrills and chills, excitement, action, a flick that keeps you on your toes.
Published 13 months ago by Homeboy Jose
5.0 out of 5 stars Garfield died young and many people are not familiar with his work.
I enjoyed this and I am ordering a few more titles that he starred in. Amazon has them all. This is one you should collect. Film Noir at its best.
Published 14 months ago by William Dakota
5.0 out of 5 stars What are you doing here getting drunk and talking so crazy?! I'm...
I must first say that with regards to this film I'm extremely biased; I have liked John Garfield for a very long time. Read more
Published 16 months ago by T. S. C.
5.0 out of 5 stars force of evil
i would also recommend this movie to all those people out there that like good crime movies
it sure is a great one even though it is in black and white there is a very good... Read more
Published 17 months ago by malcolm evans
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
This little movie was forgotten in its time, but due to the interest in the screenwriter Abraham Polonsky, who was blacklisted and didn't make another movie for several years, it... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jeff B. Sultanof
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is remarkable for the dialog and moral dilemma
Set in New York as a competition between two brothers who are more and less ambivalently in the numbers racket the dialog sounds like blank verse at times, the acting is first... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Peter Ashlock
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