CHICAGO SYNDICATE [1955] [Limited Edition] [Blu-ray] [1955 / 2021] [UK Release] Smashing the Nation’s Worst Crime Ring! Exposing the inside story!

A war hero enters a crime syndicate in a “film noir” classic starring Dennis O'Keefe, Paul Stewart, Allison Hayes and the real-life couple of singer Abbe Lane and bandleader Xavier Cugat. War veteran and accountant Barry Amsterdam [Dennis O'Keefe] is charged with investigating Arnold “Arnie” Valent [Paul Stewart], a gang boss suspected of murdering a man who tried to expose him. Barry Amsterdam soon becomes involved in a dangerous love triangle involving both Arnold “Arnie” Valent's glamorous girlfriend Connie Peters [Abbe Lane], and the mysterious, vengeful Joyce Kern – alias Sue Morton [Allison Hayes]. Directed by Fred F. Sears (‘Earth vs. the Flying Saucers’). ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ is a torn-from-the-headlines exposé of the machinations of organised crime.

FILM FACT: The King Brothers sued Columbia Pictures and Clover Productions for damages of $1 million due to their using the title ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE,’ claiming they registered the title The Syndicate in 1950.

Cast: Dennis O'Keefe, Abbe Lane, Paul Stewart, Xavier Cugat, Allison Hayes, Richard H. Cutting, Chris Alcaide, William Challee, John Zaremba, George Brand, Hugh Sanders, Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra, Nina Borget (uncredited), John Breen (uncredited), Al Cantor (uncredited), Al Capone (archive footage) (uncredited), Steve Carruthers (uncredited), Beulah Christian (uncredited), Dan Dowling (uncredited), Richard Elmore (uncredited), Franklyn Farnum (uncredited), Tom Ferrandini (uncredited), Bess Flowers (uncredited), Ben Frommer (uncredited), Gil Frye (uncredited), Joe Gilbert (uncredited), Herschel Graham (uncredited), Robert Haines (uncredited), Mark Hanna (uncredited), Sam Harris (uncredited), Charles Horvath (uncredited), Robert Locke Lorraine (uncredited), Carroll McComas (uncredited), Tyler McVey (uncredited), Joseph Mell (uncredited), Harold Miller (uncredited), Sol Murgi (uncredited), George Nardelli (uncredited), Monty O'Grady (uncredited), Hortense Petra (uncredited), Foster H. Phinney (uncredited), Joe Ploski (uncredited), Fred Rapport (uncredited), Cosmo Sardo (uncredited), Jeffrey Sayre (uncredited), Carl Sklover (uncredited), Norman Stevans (uncredited) and Bert Stevens (uncredited)

Director: Fred F. Sears

Producer: Sam Katzman (uncredited)

Screenplay: Joseph Hoffman (screenplay) and William Sackheim (story)

Music Department: Conductor: Ross DiMaggio, Composer: Arthur Morton (uncredited), Composer: George Duning (uncredited) and Composer: Marlin Skiles (uncredited)

Cinematography: Fred Jackman Jr., A.S.C. (Director of Photography) and Henry Freulich, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

Special Effects: Jack Erickson

Image Resolution: 1080p (Black and White)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 1.0 LPCM Mono Audio
Audio Description: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English

Running Time: 84 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Columbia Pictures / Powerhouse Films / INDICATOR

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ [1955] is a very entertaining film and the story is reasonably engrossing, there are nice supporting turns by Abbe Lane and Paul Stewart, and there's also some terrific Chicago location work.

Mobster Arnold “Arnie” Valent [Paul Stewart] orders a hit on his bookkeeper, who is going to inform on Arnold “Arnie” Valent to the law enforcement, and the man is gunned down on the street. The cops turn to Barry Amsterdam [Dennis O'Keefe], an accountant with a military background, to go undercover and get the goods on Arnold “Arnie” Valent.

Over the course of many months Barry Amsterdam slowly works his way into Arnold “Arnie” Valent's organization and then completely into his confidence. When he can, Barry Amsterdam meets with his police contacts in strange locations, including a hospital room, in order to pass on information. To Barry Amsterdam's dismay, Arnold “Arnie” Valent destroys key incriminating papers after showing them to Barry, but Barry later learns that Arnold “Arnie” Valent's mistress, Connie Peters [Abbe Lane], has them on microfilm as “insurance.”

Meanwhile the dead accountant's daughter Joyce has been working undercover herself, posing as a woman named Sue Morton [Allison Hayes] who comes on to Arnold “Arnie” Valent, trying to make Connie Peters jealous and angry enough to threaten to disclose the location of the microfilm.

Abbe Lane does a good job with a flashy role as Arnold “Arnie” Valent’s spurned mistress, a singer with a drinking problem. Benny Chico the leader of the band, who backs her, is played by Xavier Cugat, who was Abbe Lane's husband at the time. But there is one uncomfortable scene near the end of the film where the Abbe Lane’s character is viscously dragged into another room against her will on the order of gangster Arnold “Arnie” Valent to be made reveal where a micro film is and you hear her screams coming from that room and really makes you feel really uncomfortable, but because of gangster Arnold “Arnie” Valent violent aggression against Abbe Lane’s character of course eventually gets his long awaited comeuppance.

‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ is a pretty darn good film; especially the opening narration over the first reel or so, and the film proved quite a few fun genuine surprises. Interesting characters with some fine acting helped to lift things up too, and it’s one of those films that just gets really better as it goes along. That real-world trivia I noted earlier is really just the icing on the cake which adds a certain spice and pathos to the film.

This is a fast-paced movie directed by Fred F. Sears. It's done in classic documentary-noir style, with the voice of an omniscient narrator David Healey [Richard Cutting] filling in the blanks as Barry Amsterdam works his way up through Arnold “Arnie” Valent’s organization. There's also a lot of great footage shot in Chicago, with the final confrontation between Barry Amsterdam and Arnold “Arnie” Valent making especially good use of locations. The movie was filmed in black-and-white by Director of Photography Fred Jackman Jr. and Henry Freulich  who did a very fine professional cinematography.


ONE AT A TIME (uncredited) (Written by Bernie Wayne and Ben Raleigh) [Sung by Abbe Lane]

CUMPARSITA MAMBO (Written by Buddy Dufault and Gerardo Matos Rodríguez)

GREEK BOLERO (Written by Giannis Spartakos)

CUBAN MUMBO (uncredited) (Written by Rafael Angulo and Xavier Cugat) [Sung by Abbe Lane]

* * * * *

Blu-ray Image Quality – Columbia Pictures, Powerhouse Films + INDICATOR presents us the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ wonderful 1080p black-and-white image which was remastered by Sony Pictures quite some time ago, but looks terrific in high-definition and shown in a very nice 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I feel the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ looks as good as it can for a film released in 1955 and the clarity is consistently pleasing, and especially the stock footage with Al Capone and some of the key locations looks really good. The Darker scenes reveal plenty of fine nuances as well, but the grain can be a bit noticeable at times, but it is still nicely exposed and healthy, so even on a very large screen the visuals have a very stable organic appearance. Image stability is excellent. There are no distracting large debris, cuts, and marks, warped or torn frames to report. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Columbia Pictures, Powerhouse Films + INDICATOR brings us the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ with a really nice 1.0 LPCM Mono Audio experience and especially when we get the musical numbers with of singer Abbe Lane and Bandleader Xavier Cugat. The dialogue was very stable, clear, and easy to follow. The film does not have a prominent soundtrack, so the only notable music is from the night club where Arnold 'Arnie' Valent's glamorous girlfriend Connie Peters performance. Overall, I did not encounter any troubling age-related audio imperfections to report in this Blu-ray review. 

* * * * *

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ Audio Commentary with Toby Roan [Audio only] [2021] [1080p] [1.85:1] [84:14] With this featurette, and we get to hear this Toby Roan audio commentary for the 1955 Columbia Pictures ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ film with Copywriter, Creative Director, Author and Film Historian Toby Roan and as the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ begins, then Toby Roan introduces himself and informs us that the film was produced by Sam Katzman and directed by Fred F. Sears and says the pair of them made some really solid movies in the 1950’s and 1960’s and ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ hit the cinemas in the summer of 1955 and mentions the film stars Dennis O’Keefe [1908 – 1968] who was an American actor and screenwriter, who was a real fixture in the “B” “film noir” crime pictures of the 1950’s and his career spanned 1931 – 1961, but also mentions the other main actors that appeared in the film that included Paul Stewart, Allison Hayes, Richard H. Cutting, Hugh Sanders, the real life band leader Xavier Cugat, and his real life wife at the time of the movie Abbe Lane. Now Tony Roan wants to talk about crime film titles that featured crime syndicates that were set in other prominent cities across America and mentions the opening montage shots of Chicago that sets the scene for the film and says director Fred F. Sears liked to rely on film stock footage for all of the films he has directed, but in this 1955 film we get to see stock newsreel film footage of the crime boss Al Capone and was sometimes known by the nickname "Scarface" and was an American gangster and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit from 1925 to 1931. Tony Roan also says the showing the shots of Chicago gave the film a gritty realism and as we get into the start of the film Tony Roan mentions the other main actors that start to make an appearance and the films and says he now wants to talk about the actor Paul Stewart who was an American character actor, director and producer who worked in theatre, radio, films and television and frequently portrayed cynical and sinister characters throughout his career. A friend and associate of Orson Welles for many years, Paul Stewart helped Orson Welles get his first job in radio and was associate producer of the celebrated radio program “The War of the Worlds” in which he also performed. One of the Mercury Theatre players who made their film debut in Orson Welles's landmark film Citizen Kane, Paul Stewart portrayed Citizen Kane's butler and valet, Raymond. Paul Stewart appeared in 50 films, and performed in or directed some 5,000 radio and television shows. Allison Hayes was an American film and television actress and model and made her film debut in the 1954 comedy Francis Joins the WACS. Allison Hayes second film, Sign of the Pagan, provided her with an important role in a relatively minor film opposite Jack Palance, and Allison Hayes played the part of a siren who ultimately kills him. Despite the strength of her second film role, she played minor roles in her next few films. Originally cast in Foxfire [1955], Allison Hayes was removed from the film during a lawsuit filed against Universal Pictures for injuries, including broken ribs that Allison Hayes had sustained during the filming of Sign of the Pagan. Released from her contract, Allison Hayes was signed by Columbia Pictures in 1955 and finally mentions the actor Richard H. Cutting [1912 – 1972] and in the 1950s Richard Cutting derived fame as “Manners,” a tiny butler in a Bowler derby hat in a series of commercials for Kleenex Napkins. By trick photography he appeared to be about only inches in height and would manifest under a dinner table in a traditional butler's cutaway. A paper napkin was always slipping off the lap of a diner, giving Manners the opportunity, after a polite “ahem,” to inform the guest of the non-slip benefit of the Kleenex napkin and mentions a lot of American TV series he has appeared in, but also appeared in the following films South Pacific, Magnificent Obsession, Attack of the Crab Monsters and The Great Jesse James Raid and also says that the actor Richard H. Cutting is the narrative for the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE.’ Now Tony Roan mentions that the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ is supposed to be based on real crime syndicate events that happened all over Chicago but does not mention the period this was set in, but I suspect it was the time of the crime boss Al Capone was in charge of this crime syndicate and how they recruited real people to infiltrate these crime syndicates all over Chicago and also the U.S. Attorney’s Office Provides Update on Federal Prosecutions and Ongoing Strategies To Combat Violent Crime in Chicago and the surrounding area and said “A fundamental duty of our government is to keep people safe, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is using every available law enforcement tool to do that,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch and that “We are committed to investigating and prosecuting violent offenders and bringing quality, impactful cases to disrupt the cycle of violent crime in Chicago.” Now Tony Roan talks about the first appearance of the actor Dennis O’Keefe who in the film is an Accountant and war hero Barry Amsterdam is asked by Chicago newspaper editor David Healey and civic leaders to go undercover and to infiltrate the crime syndicate of Arnold “Arnie” Valent [Paul Stewart], who runs a corrupt insurance business and is believed responsible for murdering bookkeeper Nelson Kern, who had gone to the newspaper with proof of the criminal activity and now Tony Roan now goes into great detail about the background of the American actor Dennis O’Keefe and when his father died, Dennis O’Keefe continued his father's vaudeville act for several years after the father's death and then Dennis O’Keefe started in films as an extra in 1931 and appeared in numerous films under the name Bud Flanagan. After a small but impressive role in Saratoga [1937], Clark Gable recommended Dennis O'Keefe to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which signed him to a contract in 1937 and renamed him Dennis O'Keefe and his film roles were bigger after that, starting with The Bad Man of Brimstone [1938] opposite Wallace Beery, and then the lead role in Burn 'Em Up O'Connor [1939]. Dennis O'Keefe gained great attention with a showy role in The Story of Dr Wassell [1944] and became a comedy star and expressed an interest in expanding into directing films. Dennis O'Keefe starred in the “film noir” classics such as T-Men and Raw Deal, both directed by Anthony Mann and Dennis O'Keefe also starred in lots of film and mentions some the following Hold That Kiss [1938], The Chaser [1938], Topper Returns [1941], Lady Scarface [1941].  The Affairs of Jimmy Valentine [1942], Walk a Crooked Mile [1948], Siren of Atlantis [1949], The Diamond [1954] Lady of Vengeance [1957] and Dennis O'Keefe’s final film was All Hands on Deck [1961]. Finally, Dennis O'Keefe was a very heavy cigarette smoker and died of lung cancer in 1968 at the age of 60 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California and was buried at Wee Kirk O'the Heather at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. At a certain particular point in the film, the actress Abbe Lane appears and Tony Roan goes into great detail in saying that Abbe Lane was an American singer and actress and was known in the 1950’s and 1960’s for her revealing outrageous scandalous outfits and sultry style of performing. Her first marriage was as the fourth wife of Latin bandleader and musician Xavier Cugat, more than thirty years her senior and in the late 1960’s starred in several Italian films and performed on television variety programmes such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Steve Allen Show, The Jack Paar Program, The Mike Douglas Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Joey Bishop Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson from the 1950’s into the 1970s. Abbe Lane played guest roles in Naked City, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Flying Nun, F Troop, The Brady Bunch, Hart to Hart, and Vega$. Tony Ronan now mentions some of the films Abbe Lane and they were The Americano [1955], The Wanderers [1956], Sunset in Naples [1959],          Roulotte e roulette [1959], Julius Caesar Against the Pirates [1962], The Lightship [1963] and Abbe Lane’s last movie appearance was in Twilight Zone: The Movie [1983] in the minor role of an airline stewardess segment “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”). In 1992, Abbe Lane wrote the semi-autobiographical novel But Where Is Love? and described the painful memories of a teenage girl married to an older man. Abbe Lane received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6381 Hollywood Boulevard for her contribution to television. Abbe Lane died on the 14th December, 1932 at the age of 91. Now Tony Roan wants to talk about the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ and the pleasure he gets from viewing the film and also so many other genre crime syndicate type “film noir” movies in the 1950’s and especially seeing great actors great performances in those films in the period. Now Tony Roan wants to concentrate on the very professional cinematographers and they were Fred Jackman Jr. and Henry Freulich and says these guys shot a lot of movies for Columbia Pictures, and mentions some of the film titles that Fred Jackman Jr. worked were Creature with the Atom Brain [1955], Apache Ambush [1955], Fury at Gunsight Pass [1956], Earth vs. the Flying Saucers [1956], Slaughter on 10th Avenue [1957], Harum Scarum [1965], Time Travelers [1976], Spider-Man [1977] and Sharon: Portrait of a Mistress [1977]. Now Tony Roan wants to mention some of the film titles that Henry Freulich worked on and they were Bonanza Town [1951], The Miami Story [1954], New Orleans Uncensored [1955], Inside Detroit [1956], Reprisal! [1956], The Houston Story [1956] and Return to Warbow [1958]. Tony Roan mentions the actor Dennis O’Keefe is walking past the Chicago cinema The Woods Theatre that was a movie palace at the corner of Randolph and Dearborn Streets in the Chicago Loop. It opened in 1918 and was a popular entertainment destination for decades. Originally a venue for live theatre, then it was later converted to show movies. It closed in 1989 and was demolished in 1990 and mentions the film it was showing the famous Marlon Brando 1954 Columbia Pictures film On The Waterfront that received twelve Academy Award nominations and won eight, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Marlon Brando, Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint, and Best Director for Elia Kazan.  At this point Tony Roan about certain other people behind-the-scene involved with the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ and just waffles on endlessly about nothing of any relevant information, only to people who are interested in the certain relevant information he is going on about for ages, because it was absolutely totally boring and should of talked more about the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE.’ But now Tony Roan wants to talk about the actress Alison Hayes who informs us that she was an American film and television actress and model and was born in in Charleston, West Virginia. Alison Hayes represented D.C. in the 1949 Miss America pageant. Although she did not win the competition, it provided her with the opportunity to work in local television before moving to Hollywood to work for Universal Pictures in 1954. Alison Hayes made her film debut in the 1954 comedy Francis Joins the WACS, her second film, Sign of the Pagan, provided her with an important role in a relatively minor film. Opposite Jack Palance, she played the part of a siren that ultimately kills him. Despite the strength of her second film role, she played minor roles in her next few films. Originally cast in Foxfire [1955], and was removed from the film during a lawsuit filed against Universal Pictures for injuries, including broken ribs, that she had sustained during the filming of Sign of the Pagan. Released from her contract, she was signed by Columbia Pictures in 1955. Alison Hayes then went to work in other films and they were The Steel Jungle [1956], Mohawk [1956], Gunslinger [1956], The Unearthly [1957], Attack of the 50 Foot Woman [1958], A Lust to Kill [1958], The Hypnotic Eye [1960], The High Powered Rifle [1960], The Crawling Hand [1963], Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? [1963] and Alison Hayes last film was Tickle Me [1965] and Alison Hayes later stated that hat the pain of her illness caused her to contemplate suicide, and that her symptoms were not taken seriously by doctors. Reading a medical book about the metal poisoning of factory workers, Alison Hayes recognized the symptoms described as being similar to her own. Alison Hayes began to question the ingredients of a calcium supplement she had been taking for a long time and when she employed a toxicologist to test a sample of the product, he determined that it had an extremely high content of lead and concluded that Alison Hayes was most likely suffering from lead poisoning. In 1976, Alison Hayes was diagnosed with leukaemia and was treated regularly in La Jolla, California. On the 26th February, 1977, Alison Hayes died and one week before her 47th birthday and Alison Hayes was interred with her father at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. In a letter that arrived after her death, the FDA advised her that amendments were being made to the laws governing the importation of nutritional supplements, largely as a result of her situation. Now Tony Roan starts to talk about the first female editor and that was Viola Lawrence and became better known as Hollywood's first lady film cutter, Viola Lawrence began her career holding title cards for the Brooklyn-based film company Vitagraph. In 1911, Viola Lawrence earned a meagre $5 as a messenger. But she persisted in the business and worked her way up to edit her first film in 1912. Five years later, Viola Lawrence resettled in Hollywood where she was signed by Carl Laemmle for Universal. Viola Lawrence did some of her finest work on two seminal “film noir” like The Lady from Shanghai [1947] and In a Lonely Place [1950]; and on the musical Pal Joey [1957], for which Viola Lawrence received an Oscar nomination. Viola Lawrence swan song was the big budget musical comedy Pepe [1960], an ill-advised attempt at replicating the success of Around the World in 80 Days [1956] and Viola Lawrence later claimed that it had been her toughest assignment to date, as she had to pare down 500,000 feet of exposed film to just 20,000. In the end, the picture still ran to 195 minutes. Orson Welles biographer Charles Higham wrote that, when Viola Lawrence was assigned to The Lady from Shanghai [1947] and reported to studio boss Harry Cohn that “the footage was a jumbled mess” and also informed Harry Cohn that Orson Welles “had not shot a single close-up;” Orson Welles reluctantly obeyed orders to add some. Following poorly received previews, the studio instructed Viola Lawrence to make drastic cuts, over an hour of footage, shortening the film to 87 minutes. Viola Lawrence’s career spanned from 1917 to 1960 with her last film Pepe. The California State University, Fullerton University Archives and Special Collections have a collection of material related to Viola Lawrence. Sadly on the 20th November, 1973 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, Viola Lawrence died. Now Tony Roan wants to talk about the upcoming screening of the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ in Chicago and certain people were concerned that the film would give Chicago an unflattering image of the windy city and there were rumours that the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ would be banned from being shown in any cinema in Chicago, but of course nothing came of it, but on the other hand, it gave the 1955 film great publicity. On top of all that, before the premiere ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ the actress Alison Hayes was in Chicago town plugging the movie and the actress was grilled by aggressive TV interviewers in a not a very nice pleasant way, about the negative rumours about Chicago in the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ and because of this, Alison Hayes fled in tears and was extremely upset. Now Tony Roan informs us that the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ premiered on the night of 1st July, 1955, at the Roosevelt Theater on 110 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60602 and was designed for the Ascher Brothers circuit by C. Howard Crane and H. Kenneth Franzeim and the Roosevelt Theater’s façade was Greek Revival and the faux-columns below its ornately sculpted pediment echoed those above the main entrance of the neighbouring United Artists Theatre and Alison Hayes stood outside the Roosevelt Theater signing autographs with excited fans before the guest arrived for the premiere. Now Tony Roan mentions the critics headline reviews of the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ and this is what they said:

New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther said on the 21st June, 1955: “It looks as though Dennis O’Keefe is on a bit of a geographical kick. Last Friday he turned up at the Palace in a little something called “Las Vegas Shakedown.” Yesterday he appeared at the Criterion in “Chicago Syndicate.” But aside from geographical location, there is not much to distinguish the two films.”

“This is a standard melodrama in which a bright spot is Allison Hayes, a tall and agreeable young lady who gives considerable aid to the somewhat battered Mr. O’Keefe.”

Another critic said about ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ on the 21st June, 1955: “More impressive than the story of the performance, is the glib dialogue accorded to Columbia presentation, the wordage, clips, clever, sophisticated and stimulated, encourages a little mental exercise.”

With the Miami News critic said about ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ on the 21st June, 1955: “Paul Stewart is top hood, excellent Alison Hayes is the heroine is attractive.”

As we get near to the end of the film, Tony Roan says that everything all comes together in the last reel here. Building up plenty of suspense, from the writing to the direction, to the acting, to Viola Lawrence’s cutting of the movie, where everything is tight and nothing is wasted. The pictures last few minutes makes good use of the network of tunnels underneath Chicago, and all 60 miles them 40 feet below street level, and commonly known as the Deep Tunnel project, and once carried freight on a narrow two foot electric railroad. The tunnels were constructed in 1900, and service began in 1906. By the 1930's and was used for carrying coal, mail, merchandise and freight from the railways terminals, and freight was also being delivered above ground by motor trucks – which in the end proved to be more efficient then the underground freight tunnels. The tunnels were abandoned in 1959. In 1992 a section of the tunnel was punctured, causing flooding throughout the tunnel system, as well as 24 downtown buildings. Today, the tunnels are unused, except for a few sections, which carry utility and communication lines. As we get near to the end of Tony Roan’s audio commentary, he says that the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ really comes down to a team of pros doing their thing, with a little bit of time, a little bit of money, but it was all well spent, and I am Tony Roan and that was ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ and at that point this Tony Roan audio comes to an end.

Special Feature: Image Gallery: With this featurette, we get to view 29 wonderful and dramatic 1080p black-and-white and colour publicity and promotional material related for the 1955 Columbia Pictures film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE.’ Please Note: To advance the images, you have to press the right hand NEXT button on your remote control. To EXIT this featurette, press either MENU or TOP MENU on your remote control.

Special Feature: From Nurse to Worse [1940] [1080p] [1.37:1] [16:47] With this featurette, we get to view a short film starring The Three Stooges, in which the trio attempt to make big money through an insurance scam. Moe and Larry put Curly on a leash and take him to the insurance doctor and have him act like a dog. Unfortunately, the insurance doctor wants to perform a brain operation (Cerebrum decapitation). The boys try to escape by hiding in the dog catcher’s wagon, but are caught and taken to the hospital. They escape again, this time by rigging a sheet to a gurney and sailing down the street, where they run into Jerry and knock him into wet cement.

Finally, ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ [1955] is a totally amazing “film noir” crime movie. It has a truly great sleazy feel to it and is totally well directed by Fred F. Sears and he knew how to turn out these trashy but effective crimes exposes! Dennis O'Keefe, who seems a little down-at-the heel, is the totally leading actor and he goes undercover to blow the lid off a syndicate run by mama's boy Paul Stewart. With his eyes sunken and dark, Paul Stewart is a highly effective villain, and his current girlfriend sings at a club he runs. We hear her sing, and she is pretty darn good. That's because she's played by Abbe Lane who had a good vocal style and she knew how to be sewn into a glamorous dress. Real-life husband Xaviar Cugat is on-hand, because he is her band-leader and is pining after her. The best part of ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ for me was seeing Abbe Lane and Xavier Cugat together. The film is full of excellent amazing intrigue, and is an interesting and unusual plot and sure to please fans of the genre, and the film ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ earns a definite ultimate brilliant justified five star rating because ‘CHICAGO SYNDICATE’ is that good. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso
United Kingdom

Back to homepage