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Joe Sante (Steve Cochran) has been some sort of a delinquent since a
very young age, breaking his parents' heart, but now that he's grown up,
he finally has to pay the price and is sent to the slammer for one year
after being caught drugrunning. However, once he's out, he's welcomed by
his boss Udino (Robert Strauss) with open arms and promised to rise up in
the ranks if he only commits a murder. Joe does, and rise in the ranks he
does as well, and soon he's the boss and Udino his mere right-hand man.
But Udino is the most loyal of them all and clever enough to prefer a job
on the sidelines to a job in the limelight (and the line of fire). Joe is
smart and soon finds a way to profit from labour wars by getting
protection money from both big business and unions, and he's also clever
enough to stay away from areas that are simply too hot.
However, due to
his "occupation" as a mobster he drifts apart from the woman he
really loves, Teresa (Lita Milan), the honest girl-next-door ... whose
brother Ernie (John Brinkley) though soon sides with him to follow his
footsteps - and fail when he gets addicted from the very stuff he's
selling. Eventually, Joe tries to fire him, upon which Ernie tries to
blackmail Joe, and Joe has to shoot him dead. It's only then that Teresa
(rather surprisingly) realizes that she's in love with Joe, and she does
become his moll.
Big time crime kingpin Moran (Grant Withers) offers
Udino whatever he wants if he offs Joe, but Udino is loyal and instead
helps Joe to kill Moran - which causes a big shakeup in the crime world,
and soon enough, Joe becomes a notorious public figure, also due to a
highly publizised trial in which he's only just let off the hook.
wants to flee the country ... but now Udino lures him into a death trap -
after all, Joe won't do him no good no more and with him out of the way,
Udino can take over.
Gun Kelly became an unexpected triumph for Roger Corman not only
with the audiences but with the film critics, it was only a matter of time
(and not too much time) before Corman would direct another gangster flick
- I, Mobster. But while the earlier film was a really clever piece
of genre cinema with Charles Bronson giving one of his best early
performances, I, Mobster was just your run-of-the-mill gangster
movie that told an all-too-familiar story with only few deviations from
standard genre fare, too few engaging action scenes, Steve Cochran as an
at best average leading man, and a budget a tad too low to really pull off
the whole thing.
Now don't get me wrong, I, Mobster is not a bad
movie, it's just ... routine, actually, a film you can kind of enjoy while
watching but will have forgotten in a day or two ...