Force of Evil
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What's it About
Slick, urbane Wall Street lawyer Joe Morse (Garfield) is engineering a takeover of the Manhattan numbers racket for his mob-connected employer, Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts). Knowing estranged older brother Leo (Gomez), who runs a small, mom-and-pop numbers operation, will be bankrupted by the scheme, Joe pays him a visit and attempts to persuade him to join the syndicate. But Leo refuses, landing them both in the middle of a dangerous gang rivalry.
Why we love it
A dark, cynical film about the culture of greed in America, "Force" helped earn director Polonsky and its talented star, John Garfield, a place on the Hollywood blacklist. With its edgy moral themes and exquisite angled lighting by George Barnes (who visited an Edward Hopper exhibit to achieve the look), "Evil" has influenced many, including Martin Scorsese. In his finest role, Garfield soars as a chiseled, hard-driving lawyer, abetted by Pearson (as a secretarial voice of conscience) and Gomez, playing a stubborn businessman who equates his hated brother with gangsterism. Brutal and beautifully photographed, this is one "Force" you shouldn't resist.