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Force of Evil


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Product Details

  • Actors: John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor, Beatrice Pearson, Paul Fix
  • Directors: Abraham Polonsky
  • Writers: Abraham Polonsky, Ira Wolfert
  • Producers: Bob Roberts
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Original recording remastered
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 31, 2012
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0080JG2GE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,460 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

This gritty Film Noir is drenched in greed, cynicism and corruption of the soul, as embodied by John Garfield (The Postman Always Rings Twice) in one his most memorable roles. Garfield is perfectly cast as Joe Morse, a lawyer whose connection to a ruthless racketeer has nearly destroyed his sense of morality. His participation in a rigged numbers racket could prove disastrous for his high-strung brother (superbly played by Thomas Gomez), whose small-time policy bank stands to go broke when the rigged numbers pay off. Writer and director Abraham Polonsky (In his directorial debut) was later victimized by the Hollywood blacklist, curtailing a promising career for decades until he directed Robert Redford in 1969's Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here. The great supporting cast includes Paul Fix, Beatrice Pearson and Noir goddess, Marie Windsor (The Killing).

Customer Reviews

He isn't pure, but he isn't all bad either.
Nick Zegarac
Abrabham Polonsky's 1948 film Force of Evil is drenched with cynicism, corruption, greed, and love.
Vincent Tesi
This rather unique dialogue gives the film a feel decidedly like other noted films in this genre.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By dantes on May 18, 2004
Format: DVD
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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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Tesi on 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 By Douglas Doepke on 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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