The System was one of several "exposé" films inspired by the Kefauver crime committee. The title refers to the manner in which a major gambling syndicate can so insinuate itself in "respectable" business circles that it becomes virtually impossible for justice to prevail. Big-city syndicate head John Merrick (Frank Lovejoy) is targeted for investigation by a crusading newspaper. The publisher (Fay Roope) uses this opportunity as a means to squelch his daughter's (Joan Weldon) romance with the unscrupulous Merrick. Called to testify before a crime commission, Merrick at first invokes the Fifth Amendment. But a series of crushing personal blows, coupled with the realization that his fellow hoods have left him to twist slowly in the wind, leads to an abrupt change of heart on the witness stand. The System boasts one of the most impressive supporting casts in any 1953 film, including virtually every actor who's ever played a thug or lowlife: Dan Seymour, Frank Richards, Vic Perrin, Henry Corden, Bruno VeSota, etc. etc. etc.
by Hal Erickson synopsis