THE CASE AGAINST BROOKLYN. Columbia Pictures, 1958. Darren McGavin, Maggie Hayes, Warren Stevens, Peggy McCay, Tol Avery, Emile Meyer, Nestor Paiva. based on a True Magazine article “I Broke the Brooklyn Graft Scandal” by crime reporter Ed Reid. Cinematography: Fred Jackman. Director: Paul Wendkos.

   Based on article about massive corruption in the Brooklyn Police Department in the 1950s, The Case Against Brooklyn is a little known but still impressive example of late-in-the-game film noir. Frustrated by his inability to crack down on betting gangs in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the D.A. co-opts the entire graduating class of new police academy cadets to work undercover for him.

   One of these, older than the others, is an ex-Marine named Pete Harris (Darren McGavin), who in search of both glory and a promotion, lets his job take over his life so completely that in the end his obsession has destroyed it as well. Even though happily married at the beginning of the film, in order to work his way into the gang, he romances a new widow (Lil Polombo, played magnificently by Maggie Hayes) so well that she finds herself falling in love with him.

   Although filmed on a low budget, the story doesn’t pull any punches, except perhaps how far Pete is willing to go with his faux romance with Lil. The cast may consist entirely of low profile actors, but they are all professionals, and they know exactly what they are doing. And as in all good noir films, the action is both snappy and violent, and the photography makes good use of interesting angles as well as darkness and the light and the shadows in between. And the ending? Well nigh perfect.

   Nicely done, all around!

Added Later: Here’s Walter Albert’s take on this same movie.