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Please help me name this film


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I've been trying to find a movie for years to no avail. I've only seen it once on TMC maybe close to 15 years ago now.

The plot is set in the very late 1940's but most likely in the 50's. It's about a gangster (he calls himself that, but he's probably in all likelihood just a common street thug) named Lucky (I think. I am almost positive that was his name, but a search for the character on IMDB yielded nothing, so perhaps it was a nickname employed by other characters in the film) who happens to uncover a plot by Russian gangsters. I don't remember what the plot he uncovered was, but I do recall that the Russians made comments about how much tougher the Russian mobsters were. Eventually, Lucky saves the day for the ol' Red white and blue and defeats communism... who says crime doesn't pay?

 

I've tried everything to search for this film even wasted hours going over every gangster/noir film summary on the internet. So I'm at wit's end here, and I hope someone can shed some helping light.

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I don't think this is the movie, although thanks for the suggestion. I rented it from Netflix, and this was a great movie, a fantastic film. Never would have discovered this gem without you.

 

However, the movie I'm talking about isn't about a pickpocket. The main character's name I'm almost certain is Lucky, and the movie has a lot of talk about the main character being a "gangster" as if "gangsters" were cool. It's definitely a 40's or 50's era film, and has a more light-hearted feel than Pickup on South Street. Lucky wisecracks a bit more, but also seems to puff up as a tough guy a lot to really drive home this "I'm a GANGSTER!" image in his zoot suit.

 

I also remember at the end he and the female lead are captured and have a face to face with the big shot Russian mobster pulling the strings and he scoffs at Lucky's Gangster wannabe image and gives him some lip service about how American 'gangsters' are silly, almost pathetic compared to the ruthless and tough RUSSIAN Mafia, etc etc. Yet Lucky ends up saving the day.

 

So hopefully someone else comes a long and this sort of rings a bell.

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I wonder if you're thinking of *Lucky Jordan* , a 1942 film starring Alan Ladd and Helen Walker. The main character's name is certainly "Lucky", and he is a gangster/mobster, and kind of proud of it, and it is a fairly light-hearted film.

The only difference between *Lucky Jordan* and the film you describe is," Lucky Jordan" is not combating the Soviets, he's fighting a cabal of Nazi spies who're trying to infiltrate the US. It's set during the Second World War -" Lucky Jordan"/Alan Ladd thinks he's above being drafted into the army and refuses to co-operate, only to save America in his own gangsterish way.

 

Here's a link to the wikipeadia site about it:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Jordan

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 4, 2011 3:26 PM

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Funny I was also thinking of Lucky Jordan or the movies Paramount copied, All Through The Night with Bogie but both of those have Amercan gangsters going against Nazi spies and not Russians.

 

I would think the movie being memtioned would have to be in the 50s and not the 40s when the big red scare was one. That just is more logical to me.

 

I'm going over books I have to find this one but so far no luck!

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Lucky Jordan SOUNDS more like the film I'm referring to, but I'm pretty confident it was Russians and not Nazis. I distinctly recall the scene where the Russian mobster tells him how insignificant our gangsters are compared to the gangsters back in Russia. He specifically was mentioning how much more ruthless the Russian Mafia was. I recall that the plot had something to do with him stumbling across a plot due to the hero "Lucky" trying to muscle in on some sort of protection racket.

 

I hope that helps, that's really all I can remember.

From what I remember of production values, I don't think it was a very "big" film. Probably something obscure, almost lower budget. It wasn't a serial, but it was definitely something that used limited sets and not many big open outside scenes.

 

Edited by: Hyena on Jun 4, 2011 7:26 PM

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Well, you've got me. I really didn't think that there was a 'Russian Mafia' until well after WWII. Also, in WWII the Russians were our allies, and tended to be portrayed in a more flattering light, at least until 1948 or so.

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It was almost certainly made in the 50's, because there were comments in the dialogue about the commies. So I think someone had it near correct earlier when they were saying it was probably one of the films during the McCarthy era where even our "criminals" were commie fighters! I ended up watching pickup on south street (got it from netflix) and that was definitely more in the direction of what I'm talking about. It was definitely a similar type film, but probably more of a lower budget film meant to capitalize on both the red scare and the cool gangster noire film all at once. And it was in black and white.

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Perhaps it's A BULLET FOR JOEY, although I would think that a film with Edward G. Robinson and George Raft might linger in one's memory.

 

Then again, this one is so slow and uninvolving that I've managed to forget most of it. But Raft plays an American gangster who gets hooked up with Commies, Robinson is on his trail and the audience starts thinking about how much better it was when they appeared together in MANPOWER.

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Hyena, you could be right...it could be a film made in the 50s about Soviet gangs and "commies". It does seem odd, though, that the filmmakers would have mixed together two quite separate evils in one film - ie, mobs/gangsters ( who weren't around much in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, as far as I know) and Communism, especially the oppressive Stalinist version at the time. In fact, it's partly because Stalin-dominated Russia was so controlled, so full of fear and tyranny, that I find it hard to imagine that mobsters would have had enough freedom of movement to have developed.

 

You say you saw this film about 15 years ago...I don't know about you, but I know that anytime I try to remember a movie I saw once, that long ago, I am often wrong in the details. I finally see the film again (whatever it may be) only to find that aspects of the film I was positive about - plot details, characters, settings, - are quite different from what my memory has supplied. Sometimes I've mixed up two different movies, sometimes I just don't remember it correctly.

 

Also, if you're a movie fan ( and I assume you are) , the more movies you see, the more likely it is to confuse them, especially those you've seen once, many years ago. I 'm suggesting, with great respect , that I think it's possible that you may have somehow gotten this idea about Soviet gangsters, Commies, and American gangsters all mixed into one movie from several films you may have seen, all long ago. It's so easy to do, it happens to me all the time, as I've said.

 

I still think the film you're thinking of is *Lucky Jordan*. The fact that the character's name is "Lucky", that he is an American gangster who saves his country, that the film is in black and white, that it's "light-hearted", and even what you said about the bad guys mocking Jordan near the end of the film, telling him they do things better in their country - this was the scene near the end of *Lucky Jordan*, the Nazis thought they had caught him and obtained the state secrets they wanted, and they mocked the American system.

 

One other thing about *Lucky Jordan* that might help...in the film you remember, was there a sub-plot about a little old lady whom Lucky pretends is his mother?

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  • 1 month later...

It's definitely Lucky Jordan. Does this scene take place in what appears to be a greenhouse, part of a botanical garden? Don't forget the geopolitics of the world war two era: the Russians (who had overthrown the czar) who were communists were our allies, the Russians who were white Russians that is opposed to communists fought with the germans against the russians, and against the US. And after the war everyone realigned. And suddenly commies were the bad guys to the US. That's how a lot of people especially people in New York and Hollywood got caught up in McCarthy era abuses; they were pro Stalin when he was our ally and were misinformed about how bad things were in Russia and considered themselves pro communist.

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