Black Tuesday (1954)

Black Tuesday (1954) is a violent death row prison break journalism and media gang on the run sociopathic killer film noir.

Shot on sparing sets and more intense and violent than your average 1954 thriller, Black Tuesday with Edward G. Robinson is one of those noir gems that you hear about.

More than the sum of its parts, Black Tuesday (1954) pulls an epic violent bad guy sociopath role from G. Robinson and does so across some of the most unique set scenery of the day.

The two sets largely used are a set of prison sets, including a shoot out exterior, and plenty high angles looking down staircases and across yards. The electric chair scenes are probably the best across the whole style.

There is a surprisingly large cast which is just as well as Black Tuesday goes for full on Shakespearean peril and Dickensian characterisation, as the ne plus ultra portrayal of crime fantasy and psychopathic madness for 1954.

Black Tuesday
stands as a cinematic relic within the vast landscape of crime dramas, a forgotten gem that showcases Edward G. Robinson's enduring prowess in portraying complex antiheroes. Within this gritty narrative, Robinson reprises the role of Vincent Canelli, a hardened criminal whose essence echoes the gangsters of yore, reminiscent of his earlier iconic characters like Caesar Enrico Bandello and Johnny Rocco. 

The film's trajectory catapults audiences back to an era when Robinson commanded the screen with his magnetic presence and sharp delivery, ensconcing himself in the pantheon of Hollywood's most celebrated tough guys.

Edward G. Robinson in Black Tuesday (1954)

In the dimly lit corridors of death row, Canelli awaits his inevitable fate alongside fellow inmate Peter Graves, a backdrop tinged with the palpable tension of impending doom. Yet, in the shadows of despair, Canelli's mind churns with a calculated plan for escape, a daring endeavor that hinges on Graves' hidden stash of ill-gotten gains. 

Jack Kelly in Black Tuesday (1954)

This plot twist infuses the narrative with a palpable sense of urgency and intrigue, as Canelli and Graves navigate the treacherous terrain of their confinement, bound by their shared desire for freedom and survival.

Directed by Hugo Fregonese, whose cinematic oeuvre boasts a penchant for gritty realism, "Black Tuesday" unfolds with a raw intensity that mirrors the unyielding brutality of its protagonists' world. Fregonese's deft hand behind the camera imbues each frame with a sense of foreboding, capturing the claustrophobic atmosphere of the prison walls and the relentless pursuit of justice outside its confines. 

Jean Parker in Black Tuesday (1954)

Through his lens, the audience is transported into a realm where moral ambiguity reigns supreme, and the line between right and wrong blurs amidst the chaos of human desperation.

The press moments are shot beautifully both in the journalist's offices and across the range of death penalty activities and procedures that journalists then underwent. As a by-record of execution and its fascinating place in American life Black Tuesday can't be missed. All of the material around the journalists and their reporting are fascinating.

The fatal warm glow of the electric chair in Black Tuesday (1954)

The supporting cast further enriches the tapestry of "Black Tuesday," each player adding depth and nuance to the unfolding drama. Warren Stevens shines as one of Canelli's hired guns, his steely resolve complementing Robinson's unbridled ferocity. Jack Kelly imbues his portrayal of a cub reporter caught in the crossfire with a palpable sense of vulnerability, while Milburn Stone's portrayal of the prison padre serves as a moral compass amidst the moral quagmire. Together, they form a mosaic of humanity, each character a reflection of the inherent struggle between vice and virtue.

At its core, Black Tuesday is a testament to the enduring allure of film noir, a genre defined by its exploration of the darker facets of the human psyche. Sydney Boehm's script, while not groundbreaking in its complexity, serves as a sturdy scaffold upon which the film's narrative unfolds, weaving a tale of betrayal, redemption, and the unyielding pursuit of freedom. 

While some elements may appear derivative of earlier crime films, it is Robinson's tour de force performance that elevates Black Tuesday above its contemporaries, infusing the story with a sense of gravitas and authenticity that resonates long after the credits roll.

Edward G. Robinson in Black Tuesday (1954)

Indeed, Robinson's portrayal of Canelli stands as a testament to his enduring legacy as one of Hollywood's most versatile actors, capable of breathing life into characters both despicable and compelling.

Warren Stevens in Black Tuesday (1954)

From his menacing swagger back and fore across the cell to his chilling disregard for human life, Robinson embodies the essence of noir antiheroism with an unmatched fervor, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of cinematic history.

Having said that do not be put off by the start of this film which shows far far far far too much pacing up and down of prisoners, it makes one dizzy! Too much pacing.

The press pack walk to the chair in Black Tuesday (1954)

However that bad ass evil is manifest in the script:

Father Slocum: Listen to me, Vincent... you can't keep on killing and killing.

Vincent Canelli: No? Just watch me.


Vincent Canelli: Ask Manning how it feels to be getting out!

Peter Manning: Like being born again...


Police Inspector Hailey: Go ahead - put it in your papers. Tell them I've got no feelings, I didn't do anything to help those people up there, I'm a disgrace to my own church for letting a priest die. Canelli and Manning's comin' out feet first before I leave here. 

Black Tuesday remains a cinematic relic worthy of rediscovery and restoration, a testament to the timeless allure of Edward G. Robinson's indelible talent and the enduring legacy of film noir. As audiences venture into the shadows of Canelli's world, they are reminded of the enduring power of cinema to illuminate the darkest corners of the human soul, leaving an indelible imprint on the collective consciousness of film aficionados for generations to come.

Film historian and critic Alain Silver said of the film,

"When society at large is threatened, the psychopaths presented tend to be of the most violent ilk, as if to justify social repression by exaggerating the threat. Edward G. Robinson as gangster Vincent Canelli in Black Tuesday... exhibits a sadistic bent rivaled only by James Cagney in White Heat."

Silver, Alain and Elizabeth Ward. Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, Overlook TP, 1993.

Edward G. Robinson in Black Tuesday (1954)

In the shadowy underbelly of celluloid, there's a flick that's been long forgotten, buried beneath the rubble of time. It's called Black Tuesday, and it's a tale that takes you back to the days when men were tough as nails and dames played with fire.

Picture this: Edward G. Robinson, the name that strikes fear into the hearts of crooks everywhere, stepping back into the shoes of a gangster, Vincent Canelli. Yeah, Canelli's a real piece of work, not your run-of-the-mill mobster. He's colder than a gun barrel in winter and twice as deadly. This ain't no stroll down memory lane with Little Caesar or Johnny Rocco—this is a whole new level of mean.

Now, Canelli finds himself on death row, waiting for the juice to fry him. But he's got a plan, see? A plan to bust outta that joint, and he's taking Peter Graves along for the ride. Why Graves? 'Cause he's got a stash of cash from a bank job, two hundred grand hidden away nice and neat. Canelli figures that dough's gonna buy him a ticket outta this hellhole, and he's not one to leave money on the table.

But let me tell ya, Graves ain't no pushover. When he says that cash is locked up tighter than a drum, he means it. These two birds, Canelli and Graves, they're a match made in noir heaven—both tough as nails, both with everything to lose.

And here are the truthful taglines that herald this enjoyable cinematic project. So worth seeing for any classic film noir fan and aficionado:

Rough... ruthless... real!

The most ruthless Robinson of all time!

Black Tuesday (1954) ain't no glossy Hollywood production. Nah, it's shot on a shoestring budget, every dime squeezed for all it's worth. But don't let that fool ya—the action's as brutal as a back-alley brawl, the tension thick as cigarette smoke in a dimly lit dive.

Directed by Hugo Fregonese, a master of grit and grime, this flick ain't afraid to get its hands dirty. You can feel the sweat dripping down the walls of that prison, hear the echoes of gunfire bouncing off the cell blocks. Fregonese ain't pullin' no punches, showing you the raw, unfiltered truth of life on the wrong side of the law.

And the cast? They're the icing on this noir cake. Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Milburn Stone—they're all here, playing their parts with the kind of grit that sticks to your bones. Robinson, though, he's the one who steals the show, his performance a symphony of menace and malice. When he's on screen, you can't look away, even if you wanted to.

Sure, Black Tuesday might not be the slickest flick on the block but in fact despite what AI says, it is very slick and a lot of fun and is certainly the slickest flick on its block, and it's a pretty tasty block, the Edward G. Robinson violent death sentence thriller block, what a block to be on!

It's rough around the edges, in some people's views, and so AI probably thinks the same, but that's part of its charm. It's a reminder of a time when men were prisoners, and dames were smart and strong and beautiful, and the only thing that mattered was survival — by any dark and cinematically arosuing means necessary.

So, if you're in the mood for a slice of noir that'll stick to your ribs, give Black Tuesday a spin. Just make sure you're ready for the ride—it's gonna be a bumpy one.

Black Tuesday (1954)

Directed by Hugo Fregonese

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Death Row, Prison Break|   Release Date - Dec 31, 1954  |   Run Time - 80 min | Wikipedia Article

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