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NEO-NOIR GANGSTER HYBRID OF THE DON IS DEAD

The Don is Dead pink poster YEAR: 1973
How could a movie starring Anthony Quinn, Robert Forster, Frederic Forrest, Al Lettieri, directed by Richard Fleischer and centering on cutthroat mobsters slightly miss the mark, or, not be an incredible masterpiece? 

Probably because there's not much of a target to begin with, and yet, that's not such a bad thing since the breezy undertone provides a cushion of what feels like actor improvisation under the edgy, multi-plotted schemes going on... And on and on...

DonIsScored: ***
The story, or one of many stories, centers on a brash climber, played by Forster, who, using a somewhat contrived Brooklyn accent and not seeming as natural and genuine as usual... along with two brothers, The Fargo Brothers played by Forrest and Letteri... are a collected trio of goons with an ambitious attempt to overthrow a newly-made don, Anthony Quinn, playing white knight to Forster's beautiful, and abused, girlfriend (cult starlet Angel Tompkins): a victim who dreams of being a famous singer.

Anthony Quinn, Robert Forster
Lightweight melodrama befitting a TV movie-of-the-week makes a lot of whistling in the cemetery  but with a catchy tune...

There are so many twists (everyone wants to kill everyone) you may need a scorecard after a while, or instructions: Although Robert Forster goes from a temperamental wild card to a downright awful bully that the audience winds up rooting against, he's much more likable than Quinn, a brooding know-it-all who, alas, is the sole DON IS DEAD hero since, well, he's Anthony Quinn. And despite too much talk and not enough action, there are some decent gunfights between exposition and so, with all the twists and turns, pay attention and you may just follow this jigsaw puzzle that works better incomplete than when it attempts an 11th hour resolution. What makes it fit slightly within the Noir category despite following more of a "Modern" Classic Gangster template is that the good guys and the bad are all in the mafia i.e. where there's a moral compass in a school of sharks, it's usually within a Film Noir shoreline.
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