The Hoodlum (1951)
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The plot is familiar. Vincent Lubeck is a career criminal, and definitely the "black sheep" of his family. Because of Vincent's numerous crimes, and prison sentences, we are told that his father "died of a broken heart". His mother is in a constant state of worry, and his younger brother, Johnny, holds him in contempt. He is paroled from prison because of his mother's pleadings, but Vincent has no real interest in "going straight", even though his brother gives him a job at his gas station. Contacting some of his old cronies, Vincent plans and carries out a bank heist--a heist that results in several fatalities. A showdown with the police seems inevitable--but perhaps there are "family issues" to be settled first.
Lawrence Tierney is terrific as Vincent. This man is a thug, a thief, a liar, a rapist and a killer--a soulless, remorseless excuse for a human being. Mr. Tierney is totally convincing in this role, although in films like "Dillinger" and "Born To Kill", you could say that he had plenty of practice ! Other screen "tough guys" of the forties and fifties are still remembered today--Alan Ladd, Dan Duryea and, of course, Cagney and Bogart--except with genre fans, Lawrence Tierney seems to be forgotten, which is a shame. Certainly, in this type of role, the man had real presence.
Lawrence Tierney's brother, Edward, plays Johnny Lubeck--an interesting piece of casting, although his performance is no more than adequate.Read more ›
The movie holds your interest. It moves at a good pace with some interesting plot twists, and some action. The cast, the script, and the production are all five-star quality. However, the film left me empty in the end. Lawrence Tierney's character is helped by his family at great inconvenience and financial burden to them. Yet, he is ungrateful. He takes his family for granted. He eventually does them harm for his own selfish and wicked desires. The film is a tragedy with no uplifting moments. Apparently; the moral of the story is "Do not try to help an ungrateful person; even if he is your brother or your son".
It's also noteworthy that we see that the only thing jail has accomplished was to make Lubeck a more experienced criminal, rather than a penitent wanting to turn his life around. Tierney makes this character watchable through his charisma and sense of fatalism, and we see a glimmer of his humanity when facing his dying mother, following the bank robbery.
I'm giving this three stars due to some editing that chopped up some scenes, seemingly random in the cuts. But it's a solid, hard-boiled narrative, and Tierney carries the picture.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
good old tough guy movie..where the tough guy gets it in the end..as per code of the day...Published 3 days ago by tambourinemonkey66
They did a great job for the time. Great to see all those previous era actors, and Amazon's added info features made it all the more enjoyable because you can instantly get a... Read morePublished 4 days ago by BillyPat
Old movie from the 50's. A lot of old cliches but at least no F--- words & the like which unnecessarily populate so many of the newer movies.Published 1 month ago by B. Swayze
Slow to get started, and I lost interest quickly. The characters seemed plastic even for a movie made in the Golden Era. Read morePublished 2 months ago by William Cummings
Like Lawrence Tierney but the film quality was poor. Entertaining but fairly standard for that era.Published 2 months ago by Charles T. Brown, Sr.