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Label:
Name: OLIVE FILMS
Number: OLV828BR

THE BIG OPERATOR (1959) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Mamie Van Doren, Mickey Rooney, Mel Torme
Directed By:  Charles F. Haas

In a bold departure from his musical comedy roles, Mickey Rooney plays Little Joe Braun, a brash labor union boss who uses strong-arm tactics to evade a federal corruption probe. Two honest factory-workers—Steve Cochran (Private Hell 36) and velvet-voiced Mel Tormé—find themselves caught in the gang lord’s struggle for power, but come to realize they have the power to end Little Joe’s reign of terror...if they can survive Little Joe’s attempts to silence them.

Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Widescreen
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Run Time: 90 minutes

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on July 28, 2017 1:28 PM
YOU’ZE BETTER LISTEN UP NOW

The way movies are made and released now it’s easy to forget (for those of us older folks) and completely unknown to young people that there was a whole cottage industry of low budget movies made in the past that played at low end theaters or just drive ins. The grindhouse phenomena in the last decade tried to recall those years but it relied more on pure exploitation genres than the movies that were made in earnest but with miniscule budgets. So it’s nice to see some DVD companies like Olive keeping these films alive. Case in point THE BIG OPERATOR.

Mickey Rooney stars as Little Joe Braun, the tough as nails union boss obviously modeled after Jimmy Hoffa. Joe doesn’t like to be told no and runs his union with an iron fists. Without actually saying so you know this group has ties to the mob most noticeably in the goons Joe employs to make sure his will is enforced.

When the members of the local union aren’t happy with the way Joe is running things they begin to think of getting rid of the union and the national organization that Joe represents. His bowing to the plans of those bosses instead of the local members sets them off but Joe puts them in their place. When a member of the union’s office is about to turn states evidence against Joe, he is murdered. Unfortunately Bill, another union member, might have been aware of what happened and Joe sets about keeping him quiet as well.

Bill Gibson (Steve Cochran) us a working stiff who does his job, is shop steward and tries to keep things on the up and up. Fred (Mel Torme) is his best friend. When Fred confronts Joe and his goons over an issue he’s beat up, set on fire and left on Bill’s front lawn. If that wasn’t enough to convince Bill to keep quiet Joe kidnaps him and beats him to a pulp. But Bill is stubborn so in a last ditch attempt to silence him Joe kidnaps and threatens his son.

The end result is quickly resolved and a happy ending provided for all with the exception of Joe and his goons. Knowing the film was made in 1959 the chances of an offbeat ending were never in question. What makes the movie stand out among the many that were made is the realism seen here as well as the amount of violence. Jaded viewers grown up on Jason and Freddy may think this is tame but when it was released this was intense.

Some may think this film is hokey but those who do are viewers that never attempt to insert themselves into the time period when the movie was made. When you make an attempt to do that the movie takes on a whole different feeling. Some parts are good, some bad and some in between but in the end it results in a decent movie about a topic rarely discussed these days.

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