Yul Brynner's impressive debut in "T-Men" ripoff!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 03/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, it's not a TOTAL ripoff of Anthony Mann's classic "T-Men", but the similarities between the two will amaze you! Instead of a deadly counterfeiting ring, it's a deadly drug ring this time. The problem with this is that it didn't have Anthony Mann to make it a truly effective low-budget noir. It's one of those semi-documentary noirs of the late 1940's and is actually (well, according to the film) based on an actual case.
Yul Brynner, in his impressive film debut, plays Paul Vicola, the ruthless leader of a murderous drug ring that continues to elude the authorities. When their latest murdered victim is found in the New York harbor, two government investigators, Mickey Waters (played by Scott Brady) and Jim Flannery (played by Richard Rober) soon discover that the crime is linked with a $1,000,000 shipment of narcotics that has just arrived at the harbor.
When the girlfriend of Paul Vicola, Toni Cardell (played by K.T. Stevens) feels threatened by what she knows about him, she decides to meet with the investigators. This risky move later costs her dearly when Paul finds out! As reluctant witnesses keep turning up dead and their own lives are at risk more and more, the two investigators must hurry and catch the leader of the drug ring before he and his henchmen can escape.
While there are some slow points, and the ending is totally predictable, I found this low-budget film noir surprisingly entertaining, especially Yul Brynner's wonderfully sinister performance. The worst member of the cast was K.T. Stevens, who overacts BIGTIME right up to her character's murder. While not in the same league as "T-Men", this is surely worth owning if you're a film noir fanatic like me. My biggest complaint and primary reason for giving this movie a 3-star rating rather than 4-stars is the awful quality of the Alpha dvd. I've seen silent movies with a FAR better picture quality than this film from 1949! It's really a shame because the movie would be much more enjoyable (especially the night scenes) if it was properly restored. Overall, I recommend it to hardcore noir buffs, but don't expect a good picture or sound quality."
It's about a shipment of sand
Steven Hellerstedt | 12/25/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"PORT OF NEW YORK is one of those low budget, Poverty Row productions that boasts a vibrant, quasi-documentary feel. Whether because of technical innovations (smaller, lighter cameras) or greater expertise (maybe the great World War II documentaries convinced film photographers to leave the studios now and then), the late forties saw a great number of films shot on gritty, big city streets. Films opened up and breathed, and the better stories acquired an urgent reality.
PONY is not one of the better stories. Eagle-Lion was one of the poorest of the poor studios, and greatest would be a little too much to expect. Moving from expensive studio sets to real, and free, locations must have been welcome indeed.
Most of these movies used a "from the files of (government agency)" approach. Here it's the Customs Department, vigilant guardians of our shores. Add a voice over narration, some stock shots of real custom agents cutting into real false heels (rascally smugglers!), and a pair of heroes almost as exciting as Dragnet's Joe Friday and you got yourself the makings of a movie. Add a case pulled from the files of, an interesting Bad Guy and you're booked.
The case, in this case, is that of the Florentine, a luxury liner that, we learn, is transporting a load of Bad Drugs to the ports of New York. The drugs, a hundred pounds or so of raw opium, is smuggled into New York and our customs agents at work are soon on the job. The top agent is PONY star Scott Brady, a decent enough actor who is asked to do nothing more than set a square jaw and do nothing to embarrass the Customs Department. Our bad guy, Yul Brynner, is fourth on the cast list and another story completely. Not only is he interesting and possessed of a second dimension, he dresses better than our hero, drapes beautiful women on his arm now and again, and generally revels in his sociopathology.
Yul Brynner's drug kingpin isn't a great screen villain, but he's good enough, especially for a low-rent production like this. Besides, given the naturalistic tone of PORT OF NEW YORK, a more stylized bad guy would have been out of place. In any event, like almost all screen villains of the time, Brynner's character has a high good time of it until the Code catches up with him.
** A BIG CAVEAT EMPTOR **
I'm reviewing the Pro-Active Entertainment copy of this film. For the last thirty minutes or so the sound track is seriously out of synch with the image track. By fully one second. Smoke shoots out of the barrel of a gun, lips move, and you can count one-Mississippi before you hear the fired shot or the spoken word. Very bad and extremely distracting. I was wrapped up in the movie enough to plow through it, but I wouldn't have purchased it in the first place if I'd known.
A beginning Yul Brynner
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 05/08/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This action film is the demonstration of the methods used by federal authorities to curb the traffic of opium in the old days. It is interesting just as that : showing the methods to investigate a case and to solve it. The traffickers are of course immoral and do not hesitate to kill anyone in their way. It is also interesting to see a young Yul Brynner. He has a potential, so far unexploited. He will be a good actor later, even if he is over the average in this unambitious film. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU"