Force of Evil

Force of Evil is a 1948 American crime film noir directed by Abraham Polonsky who had already achieved a name for himself as a scriptwriter, most notably for the gritty boxing film Body and Soul (1947). Like Body and Soul, the film starred John Garfield. The film was adapted by Abraham Polonsky and Ira Wolfert from Wolfert's novel Tucker's People.[2] The film marked the first on screen acting role of Beau Bridges, who was 7 years old at the time of the film’s release.[3]

In 1994, Force of Evil was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Force of Evil
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAbraham Polonsky
Produced byBob Roberts
Screenplay byAbraham Polonsky
Ira Wolfert
Based onthe novel Tucker's People
by Ira Wolfert
StarringJohn Garfield
Thomas Gomez
Marie Windsor
Music byDavid Raksin
CinematographyGeorge Barnes
Edited byArt Seid
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 25, 1948 (United States)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,165,000[1]


The drama tells of a lawyer, Joe Morse (Garfield), working for a powerful gangster, Tucker, who wishes to consolidate and control the numbers racket in New York. This means assuming control of the many smaller numbers rackets, one of which is run by Morse's older brother Leo Morse (Thomas Gomez). The plot which unfolds is a terse, melodramatic thriller notable for realist location photography, almost poetic dialogue and frequent biblical allusions (Cain and Abel, Judas's betrayal, stigmata).



According to MGM records the film earned $948,000 in the US and $217,000 overseas.[1]

Critical response

When the film was released, the staff at Variety magazine gave the film a mixed review:

Force of Evil fails to develop the excitement hinted at in the title. Makers apparently couldn't decide on the best way to present an exposé of the numbers racket, winding up with neither fish nor fowl as far as hard-hitting racketeer meller is concerned. A poetic, almost allegorical, interpretation keeps intruding on the tougher elements of the plot. This factor adds no distinction and only makes the going tougher ... Garfield, as to be expected, comes through with a performance that gets everything out of the material furnished ... On the technical side, the production fares better than story-wise. The physical mounting is expertly valued; the New York locale shots give authenticity; and lensing by George Barnes, while a bit on the arty side, displays skilled craftsmanship.[5]

Bosley Crowther, the film critic for The New York Times, liked the film, and wrote, "But for all its unpleasant nature, it must be said that this film is a dynamic crime-and-punishment drama, brilliantly and broadly realized. Out of material and ideas that have been worked over time after time, so that they've long since become stale and hackneyed, it gathers suspense and dread, a genuine feeling of the bleakness of crime and a terrible sense of doom. And it catches in eloquent tatters of on-the-wing dialogue moving intimations of the pathos of hopeful lives gone wrong."[6]

Over the years, Force of Evil has been recognized as a masterpiece of the film noir genre, powerful in its poetic images and language, by film critics and historians such as William S. Pechter and Andrew Dickos. Its influence has been acknowledged many times by Martin Scorsese in the making of his crime dramas.


American Film Institute Lists


  1. ^ a b The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Force of Evil at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ Beau Bridges on IMDb.
  4. ^ [[Andrew Sarris| Sarris, Andrew. 1968. The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968. E.P. Dutton & Co. New York. p. 220
  5. ^ Variety. Staff film review, December 25, 1948. Accessed: February 11, 2010."
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, December 27, 1948. Accessed: February 11, 2010.
  7. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees
  8. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
  9. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Nominees

External links

Beatrice Pearson

Beatrice Pearson (27 July 1920 – February 1986) was an American actress, probably best known for her role as co-star in the 1948 film noir Force of Evil. She won a Theatre World Award in 1946 for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance in The Mermaids Singing by John Van Druten.

Beatrice Pearson was born on 27 July 1920 in Denison, Texas, US. She died in February 1986.

Black Empire

Black Empire may refer to:

Black Empire (novel), a 1938 speculative fiction novel by George S. Schuyler

Black Empire (Force of Evil album)

Black Empire (Anthem album)

Black Empire (Force of Evil album)

Black Empire is the second and final studio album by Danish heavy metal band, Force of Evil.

Eve Plumb

Eve Aline Plumb (born April 29, 1958) is an American actress, singer, and painter. She is known for her portrayal of middle daughter Jan Brady on the sitcom The Brady Bunch.A native of Southern California, Plumb began appearing in commercials at age 7, and also had guest roles on the televisions series The Big Valley and The Virginian between 1966 and 1967. She was cast as Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch in 1969, and portrayed the role until the series' end in 1974. After, Plumb continued to work in television, portraying a teenage prostitute in the NBC television film Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976), and as Elizabeth March in the 1978 miniseries Little Women.

Plumb continued to reprise her role as Jan Brady on numerous reunion series and films, including The Brady Brides (1981) and A Very Brady Christmas (1988). She made her feature film debut with a minor role in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), and later appeared in Gregg Araki's black comedy Nowhere (1997). In 2010, Plumb made her New York stage debut in Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage, followed by stage productions of Nora Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and Same Time, Next Year. She subsequently had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed thriller Blue Ruin (2013).

Film gris

Film gris (French for "grey film"), a term coined by Thom Andersen, is a type of film noir which categorizes a unique series of films that were released between 1947 and 1951. They came in the context of the first wave of the communist investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Force of Evil (album)

Force of Evil is the debut studio album by Danish heavy metal band, Force of Evil.

Force of Evil (band)

Force of Evil was a Danish 5-piece heavy metal band formed by the twin guitarists of Mercyful Fate, Michael Denner and Hank Shermann. They joined forces with Hal Patino, Bjarne T. Holm and Martin Steene, all known for their performance with King Diamond, Mercyful Fate and Iron Fire.

Force of Life

"Force of Life" is the ninth episode of the first series of Space: 1999. The screenplay was written by Johnny Byrne; the director was David Tomblin. The original title was "Force of Evil". The shooting script is dated 15 May 1974; the final shooting script is dated 24 May 1974. Live-action filming began Wednesday 29 May 1974 through Friday 7 June 1974. After a three-week hiatus, filming resumed Monday 1 July 1974 through Friday 5 July 1974; the hiatus was planned, as the Landaus' contract guaranteed them time off for a summer holiday.

Hal Patino

Hal Patino (born Hasso Patino in Las Vegas, Nevada) is an American bass guitar player, who has been a member of the King Diamond and Force of Evil metal bands. He also played in Blakk Totem, Maltese Falcon, Palladion and Doctor Butcher.

On May 4, 2010, the band Pretty Maids announced that Patino would be their new bass player, replacing Kenn Jackson. He left the band in early 2011, due to musical differences.

In 2013, Patino started the band Nordic Beast with John Norum and Mic Michaeli from the band Europe. The drummer is Mikkey Dee from Motörhead and the lead singer is Åge Sten Nilsen from Wig Wam.

Hal Patino also has a son, who is the lead singer of the band Maryann Cotton.

On July 19, 2014, King Diamond's official Facebook announced that "Hal Patino has been relieved of his duties" from the band.

Hank Shermann

Hank Shermann (real name René Krolmark) is a Danish heavy metal guitarist. He began playing guitar in 1977.

Shermann is best known for his work with Mercyful Fate. He has also played with the groups Brats, Fate, Zoser Mez, Gutrix, Virus 7, and his last main focus, Force of Evil. He is a regular guest on Witchery albums.

His band Demonica, a thrash metal act, signed to Massacre Records in October 2009. He toured with Volbeat on their summer 2012 North American tour.

On October 2, 2015, Satan's Tomb, an EP of new material recorded with fellow Mercyful Fate alumnus Michael Denner under the DennerShermann name became available for sale worldwide in a variety of formats, released by Metal Blade Records. The band's lineup consists of guitarists Denner and Shermann, drummer Snowy Shaw, vocalist Sean Peck and bassist Marc Grabowski (formerly of Cage and Demonica, respectively). Their first full-length album is called Masters of Evil and it became available June 24, 2016 via Metal Blade Records. Touring dates are reportedly planned, but have not been announced as of July 2016.

Hymns for Strange Children

Hymns for Strange Children is the début album from London-based glam rockers Rachel Stamp. It was released in 2000 on Cruisin' Records. Recorded by John Fryer in as little as two weeks, Rachel Stamp's debut album was a long time in the making. After Rachel Stamp were dropped from WEA in 1997, the original debut album, Fight the Force of Evil, was in serious doubt of ever seeing a release, but the band released a string of hit independent singles, all of which appear on this album.

The album was reissued at the end of the year as a numbered Limited Edition of 1500 2-CD box set with the live album Stampax. The catalogue number was CRRS 003L.

I Got the Worm

"I Got the Worm" is Rachel Stamp's second release via their own "Bitch Vinyl" imprint. "I Got the Worm" was produced by John Fryer and Rachel Stamp. Like the "My Sweet Rose EP", this single also features two tracks taken from the band's unreleased WEA album, "Fight the Force of Evil", as B-Sides. A promotional video was made for this release.

Marie Windsor

Marie Windsor (born Emily Marie Bertelsen; December 11, 1919 – December 10, 2000) was an actress known for her femme fatale characters in the classic film noir features Force of Evil and The Narrow Margin. Windsor's height created problems for her in scenes with all but the tallest actors. She was the female lead in so many B movie's that she became dubbed the "Queen" of the genre.

Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate is a Danish heavy metal band from Copenhagen, formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann. Influenced by progressive rock and hard rock, with lyrics dealing with Satan and the occult, Mercyful Fate were part of the first wave of black metal in the early to mid-1980s. Many of the bands from this movement went on to influence later black metal musicians in the 1990s, particularly in Norway. Since the band's inception in 1981, Mercyful Fate have released seven studio albums, two extended plays and four compilations.

After several line-up changes and self-made demos, Mercyful Fate released their self-titled EP in 1982, with the line-up of King Diamond (vocals), Hank Shermann (lead and rhythm guitars), Michael Denner (rhythm and lead guitars), Timi Hansen (bass) and Kim Ruzz (drums). With this line-up the group recorded their first two studio albums (1983's Melissa and 1984's Don't Break the Oath), until 1985 when the band broke up due to musical differences. In 1993, four out of the five members of Mercyful Fate reunited to record the album In the Shadows, which was released the same year. During the 1990s, the band released four more studio albums and went through several line-up changes. Since 1999, Mercyful Fate have been on hiatus, but have reunited on occasion during the 2000s.

On August 1, 2019, it was announced that Mercyful Fate will reunite for a tour.

Roy Roberts

Roy Roberts (born Roy Barnes Jones, March 19, 1906 – May 28, 1975) was an American character actor. Over his more than 40-year career, he appeared in more than nine hundred productions on stage and screen.

Sweet Shop

Sweet Shop is a limited edition compilation of rare and unreleased recordings by London-based glam rockers Rachel Stamp. It was released in 2004 via Rachel Stamp's official website and sold at gigs around the UK. The album features the unreleased WEA album, Fight the Force of Evil as well as an assortment of B-sides and unreleased demo tracks by the WEA era line up of the band. The album is currently out of print.

Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here

Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here is a 1969 Technicolor Western film based on the true story of a Chemehuevi-Paiute Indian named Willie Boy and his run-in with the law in 1909 in Banning, California, United States.

The film was written and directed by the once blacklisted Abraham Polonsky, who, due to his blacklisting, had not directed a film since Force of Evil in 1948.

The Enterprise Studios

Enterprise Productions, Inc., otherwise known as The Enterprise Studios, was an independent production company co-founded by actor John Garfield alongside producers David L. Loew and Charles Einfeld in 1946, right after Garfield's contract with Warner Bros. had expired. Having recently turned freelance, the idea was Garfield's outlet in obtaining creative control over his own projects, as well as encouraging fellow filmmakers to pursue their own humanistic advocacies through their work.

Garfield made two films with Enterprise: Body and Soul (1947) and Force of Evil (1948). Other productions include Arch of Triumph (1948), starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer; and Caught (1949), directed by Max Ophüls and starring James Mason and Barbara Bel Geddes.

During its existence, Enterprise had its films distributed by United Artists from 1947 to mid-1948. The last three films were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.Eventually, after the box-office failure that Force of Evil brought (as well as Garfield's trouble with the House Un-American Activities Committee), Enterprise folded in 1949. The film Caught was its last production. The careers of Robert Rossen, the director of Body and Soul, and Abraham Polonsky, director of Force of Evil, were also serious affected by HUAC.

The entire catalog is currently owned by Viacom, whose Melange Pictures holding unit owns the former library of predecessor-in-interest Republic Pictures, while Paramount Pictures distributes.

Thomas Gomez

Sabino Tomas Gomez (July 10, 1905 – June 18, 1971) was an American actor.


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