The Hoodlum (1951)

“One Way Road to the Chair for Today’s Greatest Menace!” As sleazy ex-con “Vincent Lubeck,” Lawrence Tierney portrays one of the biggest scumbags in film history. Spoiler alert! This human piece of debris has absolutely no redeeming qualities and fittingly ends up in the city dump at the end of the film. When this lowlife gets pardoned from prison at the opening of the film, the warden even gives him a tour of the electric chair and predicts that’s where he will eventually end up. His loyal mother is the only one who has any faith in him and she eventually gives up on him too. As soon as Lubeck hits the streets and gets a job pumping gas at his brother Johnny’s filling station he starts to plan an armored car heist (believe it or not, the getaway plan includes a funeral procession!). Lubeck also starts a secret relationship with his brother’s girlfriend that ends tragically. Tierney’s real-life brother, Edward (who reportedly left acting soon after for the construction business) portrays his brother in the film. Directed by Max Nosseck (who also teamed up with Tierney in 1945 for Dillinger), this extremely low-budget B-movie with a running time of just 61 minutes is eminently entertaining. Useless Trivia: In addition to portraying crime boss Joe Cabot in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1991), Tierney had a memorable role as Elaine Benes’ father, Alton, in the Seinfeld episode “The Jacket.”

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