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Image Entertainment presents
The Hoodlum (1951)

"You wait. I got ideas."
- Vincent (Lawrence Tierney)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: January 12, 2006

Stars: Lawrence Tierney, Allene Roberts, Marjorie Riordan, Lisa Golm, Edward Tierney, Stuart Randall, Ann Zika, John De Simone, Tom Hubbard
Director: Max Nosseck

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01m:00h:32s
Release Date: January 03, 2006
UPC: 014381190823
Genre: gangster

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B-DC- D-

DVD Review

All movies should be made with the ruthless efficiency of this one. The Hoodlum is an hour long, but packs a wallop—it's got a terrific, crude energy to it, and while it doesn't want to be anything more than a pulpy B picture, it's got more zest than some films that are three times as long. The ice won't even melt in your soda and you'll still have some popcorn left in the bottom of the bag before the credits roll.

Lawrence Tierney plays Vincent Lubeck, and the title of the picture serves as the universally understood, damning assessment of his character. But even bad guys have mothers, and the movie begins with Vincent's pleading for her son's freedom with the parole board. Vincent is currently doing a pull in the stir, and the warden sees him as reprehensible and irredeemable—but a mother's tears are tough to overcome, and Vincent gets his freedom. He goes to work for his brother, Johnny, the good apple, who owns a gas station—it's strategically located across the street from a bank, and add to that Vincent's eye for the bank manager's slinky assistant, and no good can come of this. Vincent starts consorting with his old buddies, and hatches a pretty ingenious scheme to use the mortuary next door as cover for his bank heist; insult to injury is Vincent's play for Rosa, Johnny's girl.

The story is certainly warmed-over stuff, but Tierney is so intense and brooding that he's mesmerizing. He's unquestionably the best one in the cast—part of that is that he's in the show part, but more of that is talent. Tierney's own brother Edward Tierney plays Vincent's brother Johnny, with the lack of emotional interest that frequently comes from the on-screen virtuous. But Vincent isn't just a monster—if all he did was breathe fire, the Devil would never seduce anyone, and The Hoodlum is notable particularly for its candor about the very existence of premarital sex. (Don't fool around with your brother's girlfriend, is the lesson.)

Certainly some of this is clumsy, and sometimes plays out with the wooden acting and crude moralizing of something like Reefer Madness. But it's a breathless hour, perfect for those with a short attention span looking for a jolt.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Video quality here is very, very shoddy. The print is muddy, scratchy, and full of bacterial decay; worse, frequently frames are missing, and whole chunks of scenes have just been lopped out. (The introduction of Vincent's brother is particularly confusing.) Rough going, all the way around.

Image Transfer Grade: D


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Full of hiss and pop, but not as execrable as the video.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Only chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Technical values are wanting, and there are no extras to speak of, but Lawrence Tierney's fiery central performance make this a galvanizing hour.


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