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Gangster Story (January 1960)

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Walter Matthau in Gangster Story

Released January, 1960: Gangster Jack Martin, laying low in a small town, robs a local bank and not only has the cops on his trail, but the local crime boss that is angry because he wasn't cut in on the deal.

Directed by Walter Matthau

The Actors: Walter Matthau (Jack Martin), Carol Grace (Carol Logan the librarian), Bruce MacFarlane (Earl J. Dawson), Garry Walberg (Adolph), Raikin Ben-Ari (Plumber, a hood), David Leonard (bank president), John Albright (henchman), Clegg Hoyt (caretaker at the Country Club), Leonard Bremen (F.B.I. Agent), Vic Tayback (Norm, the resort guard)


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Walter Matthau is Jack Martin, a gangster that needs to hide out in a small town where he won't be recognized or found. He runs low on cash, so he cons the local police into helping him rob the bank. Cool movie and smart gangster so far, and a fun movie beginning. The only problem is that there is a local mobster named Dawson that thinks HE owns the town, and is very upset that this outsider so easily stole a fortune from the bank. Now not only are the cops searching for him but the local mob is looking for him also. Luckily he finds a pretty librarian that unknowingly hides him out. The mob boss finds him first, and he decides to go to work for the mob boss.

Film Star Walter Matthau directed this film. You'll know immediately that it is a low-budget independent movie. It was filmed in the local Anaheim area, and the non-union crew members' homes were used as filming locations. It has become an independent noir movie hit from the period when the big movie studios were losing their grip on all movie producton. In real life, Walter Matthau's female paramour Carol Grace became the second Mrs. Matthau at this time, and they lived happily until his death some 40 years later, and had one son, Charlie. I really got a kick out of the skinny table lamps in Carol's home, and the cool car styles that I remember from my childhood. The 60's were a very distinctive and colorful time in the story of America. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.