- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: September 7, 2010
- Originally Released: 1953
- Label: Warner Archives
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Description by OLDIES.com:
After a frightened teenager is cut down by police bullets during a botched heist, a reporter investigates. The story leads him to prominent businessman John E. Merrick (Frank Lovejoy), the secret boss of the gambling ring that had the youth ensnared in a web of wrong-way bets. And now Merrick's carefully constructed world of family, upscale neighborhoods, country clubs and community respect begins to crumble around him. In this canny thriller, Lovejoy, the granite-jawed leading man in such '50s gems of paranoia as The Hitch-Hiker and Shack Out on 101, takes his tough-guy persona and gives it a gutsy twist, creating an unusual and provocative crime-caper protagonist: the crook with a conscience.
THE SYSTEM was one of several "exposé" films inspired by the Kefauver crime committee. The title refers to the manner in which a major gambling syndicate can so insinuate itself in "respectable" business circles that it becomes virtually impossible for justice to prevail. Big-city syndicate head John Merrick (Frank Lovejoy) is targeted for investigation by a crusading newspaper. The publisher (Fay Roope) uses this opportunity as a means to squelch his daughter's (Joan Weldon) romance with the unscrupulous Merrick. Called to testify before a crime commission, Merrick at first invokes the Fifth Amendment. But a series of crushing personal blows, coupled with the realization that his fellow hoods have left him to twist slowly in the wind, leads to an abrupt change of heart on the witness stand. THE SYSTEM boasts one of the most impressive supporting casts in any 1953 film, including virtually every actor who's ever played a thug or lowlife: Dan Seymour, Frank Richards, Vic Perrin, Henry Corden, Bruno VeSota, etc. etc. etc.