THE CROOKED CIRCLE 1957
A low rent boxing racket film made at the end of Republic Pictures film production.
Steve Brodie, John Smith, Robert Armstrong, Don Kelly, Fay Spain and John Doucette headline. Brodie is a sports reporter who does the boxing beat. He thinks there is something fishy about the death of a boxer. The boxer wins a fight and then is the victim of a hit and run later that night.
Brodie digs around and finds out the man had won a fight the mob wanted him to lose. The mob lost a bundle and was less than pleased with the outcome. Brodie looks up Don Kelly, a boxer he knew from years before. Kelly had been in the same boat with the mob. He was to throw a fight but decided he could not do it. Kelly won the fight, but was quicker on the get-away. He beat the mob out of town and went into hiding under a new name.
Brodie asks Kelly just who is behind the racket but gets nothing. Kelly's brother, John Smith, has taken to the ring to earn some quick cash. He wants to get married and boxing seems the fastest way to round up some dough. Kelly asks Brodie to keep an eye on Smith. Brodie introduces Smith to a legit manager, who is played by Robert Armstrong. Smith is a natural and right off the bat KO's his first opponent.
Smith catches the eye of crooked manager, John Doucette. Doucette offers big cash if he will fight for him. Smith jumps right in and is soon on his way up the rankings. Of course after 8-9 wins he is asked to throw a bout. What is he to do? He likes the money and throws the bout.
This just leads to trouble as the mob finds out that his brother, Kelly, is the boxer who had screwed them before. Doucette then decides to take some mob cash but "forgets" to tell Smith the fix is in. Smith wins and is quickly grabbed up by the mob for a rub-out. It is just the quick work of Brodie and some cops that save the day. The bad guys get a trip upstate after Smith tells all to the cops.
Fay Spain plays Smith's wife to be. Phillip Van Zandt and Richard Karlan play the mob bosses. John Doucette is quite good as the three-timing manager. The film was directed by long time Republic helmsman, Joe Kane. The d of p was the equally long serving Republic fixture, Jack Marta.
This is by no means a 4 star film. There is however more than enough going on to keep the viewer happy.