In 1948 life was black and white, Mulder and Scully hadn’t yet shattered the credibility of the G Men, and organised crime cruised the "street with no name" that ran from coast to coast across the US of A.
Almost like some ‘fly-on-the-wall’ of the time, this shameless FBI propaganda reel aimed to educate American audiences that, unless citizens themselves were more alert and started fighting back against crime, they would soon be will be overrun by the hoodlums and organized criminals of the day.
After two gang-related killings in "Center City" (probably Los Angeles) a framed man is arrested, released on bail, then murdered.
Enter Gene Cordell, a young agent who goes undercover in Skid Row as a hard up pugilist and soon runs into Alec Stiles, the neurotic mastermind who (in FBI speak) is "building an organization along scientific lines”. Here he finds himself embroiled in this Machiavellian ring of vice, guns, gambling and crime.
Is it enjoyable? Yes. This hard-bitten world is served without cynicism and, because of this films age, it comes across as a genuine piece of true film noir that is both well directed and a fine example of the genre. It has an edge born of shadows classic cinematography.
Do take a look at the commentary track, were film scholars and noir experts James Ursini and Alain Silver give a smashing insight through production information, the interpretation of educated theorists and through historical background info.
Movie: 3 of 5
Extras: 2.5 of 5