The Racket (1951)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Police Drama  |   Release Date - Oct 25, 1951 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Although it misses being as good a film as it should have been (likely due to interference from studio boss Howard Hughes), the 1951 remake of The Racket still provides pretty good entertainment. Credit its stars for the majority of that entertainment value. Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan turn in enthralling performances, the former using his familiar laidback style to create enormous power and the latter making his loose cannon character full of good old inevitable surprises. Sure, it's a bit odd seeing Mitchum playing the cop, especially one that is as upstanding and "Establishment" as this character. But that oddness adds a fine new layer to the part and to the film, and also helps to explain the ridiculous ending in which the character is satisfied with the way things have turned out -- despite the real fat cats having gotten away. It's very possible that the original screenplay made much more sense; legend has it that Hughes insisted on significant rewrites during shooting, as well as numerous post-production changes that necessitated the participation of new directors who were not involved in the original shoot. As a result, the film doesn't hang together cohesively and involves too many dead ends and a lack of unifying vision. But as long as Mitchum and Ryan are around - along with Lizabeth Scott, wasted in an underdefined role but good to have on board -- it's still a decent ride.