While I agree with the previous reviewer's comments on the disappointing technical quality of this disc--or at least the source material--I still found "The Hoodlum" an interesting way of spending 60 minutes. This 1951 "B" movie will still appeal to fans of old gangster flicks and "films noir".
The plot is familiar. Vincent Lubeck is a career criminal, and definitely the "black sheep" of his family. Because of Vincent's numerous crimes, and prison sentences, we are told that his father "died of a broken heart". His mother is in a constant state of worry, and his younger brother, Johnny, holds him in contempt. He is paroled from prison because of his mother's pleadings, but Vincent has no real interest in "going straight", even though his brother gives him a job at his gas station. Contacting some of his old cronies, Vincent plans and carries out a bank heist--a heist that results in several fatalities. A showdown with the police seems inevitable--but perhaps there are "family issues" to be settled first.
Lawrence Tierney is terrific as Vincent. This man is a thug, a thief, a liar, a rapist and a killer--a soulless, remorseless excuse for a human being. Mr. Tierney is totally convincing in this role, although in films like "Dillinger" and "Born To Kill", you could say that he had plenty of practice ! Other screen "tough guys" of the forties and fifties are still remembered today--Alan Ladd, Dan Duryea and, of course, Cagney and Bogart--except with genre fans, Lawrence Tierney seems to be forgotten, which is a shame. Certainly, in this type of role, the man had real presence.
Lawrence Tierney's brother, Edward, plays Johnny Lubeck--an interesting piece of casting, although his performance is no more than adequate. Lisa Golm, as Lubeck's mother, has several strong scenes--her final one with the "son from Hell" is a pip !
Again, the black and white, full-screen picture has much "wear and tear", even a few scene jumps, clearly taken from an old, flawed print. I suppose it beats having no film at all. Don't look for extras.
If you can overlook the technical quality, "The Hoodlum" is a very diverting, if somewhat bleak, hour's entertainment. For this viewer at least, Mr. Tierney is worth the "price of admission".