King of the Roaring ‘20s (1961) C
Based on the novel “The Big Bankroll” by Leo Katcher, and directed by Joseph M. Newman, “The King of the Roaring 20s” (aka “The Story of Arnold Rothstein”) is a passable, B-level biopic of the notorious gangster Arnold Rothstein.
Jo Swerling’s scenario is too generic and fictionalized in its chronicle of the violent rise and fall of the notorious gangster Arnold Rothstein, best known for fixing the 1919 World Series.
Earlu on, Arnold’s father reproaches his son: “You have no faith in anything but money, and we won’t go into the sources of your income,” and the ensuing story goes on to prove his point.
Newman’s direction is decent but the pacing is too slow and deliberate for such a narrative.
In the lead role, David Janssen gives a decent performance, but he’s miscast as Rothstein was short and fat and Jewish.
Thus, it’s the secondary character actors that elevate the picture. The impressive ensemble includes Jack carson, Mickey Rooney, Dan O’Herlihy, Keenan Wynn, William Demarest, Joseph Schildkraut, and others.
The gangster genre does not do much for women and so there are only two women in the cast: Dianne Foster and Diana Dors.
Martin Scorsese used elements of Rothstein’s life in his crime-gangster film “Casino,” in 1995.
Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.
Directed By: Jospeh M. Newman .
Written By: Jo Swerling
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