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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Brothers Rico (1957)

In THE GODFATHER PART III, Michael Corleone cries out, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”. That outcry resonates in Phil Karlson’s wonderful and dark Mafia tale. Eddie Rico (Richard Conte) has long since left his mob connections, he’s now a respectable and legitimate businessman and happily married. But when the mob kingpin, his “uncle” (Larry Gates) calls him and asks him to find the youngest Rico brother (James Darren), who was involved in a mafia hit and who he fears may sing to the Feds and get him out of the country, he listens. But ever so slowly he realizes how he’s been duped by the very man he trusted like a father as his safe haven crumbles around him. It’s the mafia as a business and a family long before THE GODFATHER or THE SOPRANOS and all shot in the bright Florida and California sunshine, not the dark, wet night streets. It’s just such an absorbing and tragic tale that one can forgive the film’s last mawkish 2 minutes which doesn’t seem part of what preceded it. The acting is excellent even James Darren (GIDGET) and Kathryn Grant (7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD) shine. With Dianne Foster, Argentina Brunetti, Paul Picerni, Harry Bellaver and Rudy Bond and a superlative score by George Duning.

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