“Happy? Why, I’m so happy I’d like to go up and bust someone in the nose!” Offbeat gangster flick features a solid performance by Edward G. Robinson as big-time mobster “Joe Krozac” during the Prohibition Era who gets busted for income tax evasion (a la Al Capone) and lands a 10-year stint on “The Rock” (Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary). Meanwhile, Joe’s naïve, foreign-born wife “Talya” (Rose Stradner) gives birth to a son, marries sleazy newspaper reporter “Paul North” (James Stewart!) and moves on with her life. After Joe serves his time he attempts to track down his family and reunite with his old gang but all they are interested in is getting their grubby hands on the millions that he had reportedly stashed away before his arrest and conviction. From this point the plot goes off in several unexpected directions. As this is an early role for Stewart he simply isn’t given much to do but stand around and play the concerned family man. Look for Lionel Stander (“Max” from the TV series “Hart to Hart”) as “Curly” and John Carradine as “Caspar,” a convict who taunts Joe mercilessly and eventually gets his ass kicked. The Last Gangster was directed by Edward Ludwig and produced by MGM.
Useless Trivia: Tragically, Stradner, who married Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1939, committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills in 1958 at the age of 45.