After police captain, McLaren becomes commissioner, former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake’s sincere in his effort to join the mob. “Buggs” Fenner thinks Blake is a police agent.
Beating Those Criminals to a Pulp
Edward G. Robinson stars in yet another classic gangster film from the folks who did them best at Warner Brothers. This time his character of John Blake is based on real life NYPD detective John Broderick.
Back in the day you would not have given much chance for Broderick to grow old and die in bed. Yet in 1966 that’s what he did do. Back in the day too many of New York’s noted underworld figures felt his knuckles in various parts of the anatomy.
Broderick was independent, fearless, and honest, the last being a rather rare commodity in the days of and just after Prohibition. Good thing he retired before the Miranda decision. He didn’t think that hoodlums had any civil rights.
Because Broderick was so open and known to all undercover work was impossible. But in Bullets or Ballots Robinson is kicked off the force for excessive brutality and joins the hoods he’s been beating on.
But it’s all an act. It’s a deal worked out by Broderick and the Police Commissioner so he can go undercover and get the goods on the numbers racket. The ostensible heads, Barton MacLane and Humphrey Bogart and the respectable types they’re fronting for.
Though the ending is melodramatic, Bullets or Ballots holds up pretty well today. And who knows, Broderick’s real life might yet rate a good biographical picture today.