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The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)

Not Rated | | Crime, History | 15 May 1960 (Japan)
Neo-noir about a small-time New York City criminal whose ambition is to become a big-time crime boss during the Prohibition era.

Director:

Budd Boetticher

Writer:

Joseph Landon
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ray Danton ... Jack 'Legs' Diamond
Karen Steele ... Alice Scott
Elaine Stewart ... Monica Drake
Jesse White ... Leo 'Butcher' Bremer
Simon Oakland ... Lt. Moody
Robert Lowery ... Arnold Rothstein
Judson Pratt ... Fats Walsh
Warren Oates ... Eddie Diamond
Frank DeKova ... Syndicate Chairman
Gordon Jones ... Sgt. Joe Cassidy
Joseph Ruskin ... Matt Moran
Dyan Cannon ... Dixie (as Diane Cannon)
Richard Gardner Richard Gardner ... Vince Coll
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Storyline

Jack Diamond and his sickly brother arrive in prohibition New York as jewel thieves. After a spell in jail, the coldly ambitious Diamond hits on the idea of stealing from other thieves himself and sets about getting close to gangster boss Arnold Rothstein to move in on his booze, girls, gambling, and illicit drug operations. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Wildest Mobster of the Roaring Twenties! See more »

Genres:

Crime | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julie Wilson was nominated for the 1989 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actress in a Musical for "Legs Diamond". See more »

Goofs

When Legs Diamond is shot, he falls between two beds face down (in the prone position) with his shoes pointed down. The next shot shows him face up (in the supine position). See more »

Quotes

Jack 'Legs' Diamond: You can't kill me, I'm Legs Diamond.
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Connections

Referenced in Budd Boetticher: Hollywood Stories (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wonder What's Become of Sally
(uncredited)
Written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen
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User Reviews

 
The biographical gangster picture returns, chilly and detached
5 April 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond is Budd Boetticher's cold look at a cool customer. The low temperature extends to Lucien Ballard's crisply composed black-and-white cinematography and to Ray Danton's chilly assumption of the title role. With his `matinee-idol' looks and devil-may-care attitude, he prefigures another kind of `cool' that would arrive on screen a year or so later, that of James Bond.

Like Bond, Diamond thinks faster than anybody around him; his quick wits and ready charm get him out of scrapes as a jewel thief who came down the Hudson from Albany to try his luck in Manhattan. But that luck fails him and he ends up doing a short stretch; when he gets out, he resolves to steal from only those who `can't call the police' - other criminals. And he starts his way up in the Arnold Rothstein operation.

His fatal flaw is that he cares for nobody but himself, using people ruthlessly. The women in his life (Karen Steele, Elaine Stewart and the young Dyan Cannon) suffer particularly from their sub-zero lover, but even his sickly brother (Warren Oates) ends up cast out into the blizzard. Diamond's estrangement increases apace with his sense of his own invincibility; having survived, against all odds, a spray of bullets, he convinces himself that he can't be killed. He's wrong.

Though he's right for Boetticher's conception of the part, Danton had less of a career than he might have. He appeared in a few late films in the moribund noir cycle (as the psychotic killer in The Night Runner and as the Aspirin Kid in The Beat Generation) but, after this film, worked mostly in European cinema (by which such names as Fellini, Bergman or Godard should not be inferred).

Boetticher has a few noir credentials as well (Behind Locked Doors, The Killer is Loose) but seems uneasy in how, on the cusp of Camelot, to spin this jazz-age tale. He opts for detachment, structuring the movie as a choppy series of vignettes - almost tableaux - that don't flow (several of the incidents clamor for more explanation, but he leaves us to fill in the missing pieces). And finally, neither director nor actor gives a sound accounting of the changes in Diamond: How the winsome scoundrel of the opening turns into the cold-blooded shark of the finish.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

15 May 1960 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

United States Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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