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I Died a Million TimesGangster Noir in Midcentury America$
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Robert Miklitsch

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043611

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043611.001.0001

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The Phenix City Story

The Phenix City Story

History and Fiction (Film), Civil Rights, and the Last Days of Pompeii

(p.52) 2 The Phenix City Story
I Died a Million Times

Robert Miklitsch

University of Illinois Press

In Phil Karlson’s The Brothers Rico (1955), Eddie Rico is a legitimate businessman who cannot extricate himself from the tentacles of the syndicate. Stylistically speaking, The Brothers Rico mirrors the emerging impact of television on the classic noir series registered most dramatically in Jack Arnold’s 3-D noir, The Glass Web (1953). However, if the camera setups in Karlson’s film appear more functional than not relative to ’40s classic noir, Bernard Guffey’s cinematography is inseparable from the film’s conceit: that organized crime is indistinguishable from corporate America. The South Floridian setting of The Brothers Rico is central to its sun-drenched, coruscating vision of late ’50s America. Unlike The Enforcer and The Captive City, which are set in the East and Midwest, respectively, Karlson’s film is set in the South, the West, and the Southwest. These sunbelt locations may seem antithetical to the inky-black look of classic noir, but the reason is as simple as it is profound: crime is not just here or there; it’s everywhere.

Keywords:   Exposé, film noir, family, organized crime, television, gangster

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