The Enforcer by Bosley Crowther

The Enforcer by Bosley Crowther

26 janvier 1951. Comment ne pas se jeter sur le dernier Humphrey Bogart ? Le passant cinéphile en est incapable. Voir Bogie punir les méchants n’a pas de prix. En cet après-midi pluvieux, ce sera The Enforcer au Capitol.

Critique d’époque :

« Our old friend, Thomas de Quincy, who once wrote a callous little piece on murder considered as a fine art, was a piker alongside the gents who knocked out the Warners’ The Enforcer, which came to the Capitol yesterday. No less than eight or ten ripe killings are rather graphically played in camera range and possibly some twenty or thirty others are frankly implied in this film. This is not inappropriate. The Enforcer has to do with the detection of a murder-for-pay racket, and the business is nothing if not big.

As we say, this is not inappropriate, but murder on such a gaudy scale tends to become monotonous – and a little ridiculous, too. No matter how naturalistic and grisly the boys have made the deeds – and, you can believe us, they have made them naturalistic and grisly to a fare-thee-well – the sheer accumulation of ugly violence and brutality eventually becomes dull. An uncommon amount of light derision was heard at the Capitol yesterday.

Indeed, at one point, when Humphrey Bogart as the District Attorney who draws the juicy job of putting together a case against the murderers, takes a look at a pile of gruesome clothes, dredged up from the murderer’s « graveyard, » the house was exploded with cheers. The audience gave signs of disbelieving the sticky evidence placed before its eyes.However, we’ll say for Mr. Bogart and for those who assist him in this film – or, rather, for those who oppose him – they do not play tiddlywinks. As the hard and relentless researcher who goes back and reconstructs a spate of crimes, done, as it turns out, with ice picks, razors, blunt instruments and guns, Mr. Bogart behaves in the manner of a gentleman accustomed to crime but not a little bewildered by the multiplicity encountered here. So perturbed is he in the situation that you wonder sometimes if he did some crimes himself.As the chief operator of the murderers, just one peg beneath « Mr. Big, » Ted De Corsia is likewise impressive in several different moods. He is hard and repulsive as the manager in charge of destruction, you might say, sweaty and loathesome as a fugitive and nauseous as a « squealer » doomed to die. Zero Mostel is grimly amusing as a fat, soft punk who wants to join the murder ring and Lawrence Tolan, Robert Steele and Roy Roberts are sharp in other roles.

Bretaigne Windust’s direction is electric. Indeed, with a less exorbitant plot and a script with a little more body, which Martin Rackin’s does not have, he might have turned out another Asphalt Jungle. The Enforcer misses by only about a mile ». Par Bosley Crowther pour le New York Times.

Pour Bosley Crowther, The Enforcer souffre d’un manque d’ambition scénaristique. Pour notre critique, un scénario plus élaboré aurait placé le film du jour à hauteur de Asphalte Jungle.


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4 réflexions sur « The Enforcer by Bosley Crowther »

  1. Gordon Cummings from the group Classic Film Noir (1940-1958) :  »
    Well, hoe many films in that genre do rise to the level of The Asphalt Jungle? »

  2. Earle Schecter from the group Film Noir Anonymous : « This was loosely based on the, « Murder Inc. » saga, which took place in Brooklyn. A much better movie was,  » Murder Inc. » with Peter Falk. It was reality based, which,  » The Enforcer, » was not. And the actors in the Peter Falk movie were much more believable. I imagine Zero Mostel as a gangster! »

  3. Adryann Strauss from the group Classic Film Noir Lovers : « This is a very intense film. Every time I watch it, I’m on the edge of my seat. Great cast. Astor is terrific ».

  4. David Alexander fromthe group Classic Film Noir Lovers : « This is one of my favorites. I like the noir subgenre that delves into veterans issues ».

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