Monday, November 14, 2011

And Also Starring...

The name Mike Mazurki is not likely one you’re familiar with. The face – now that’s a different story. If you have even a passing familiarity with the film Noir era of the 40’s and 50s, you have seen him.

As with Edward G Robinson, Mazurki’s facade masked an intelligent and refined nature. The university-educated Mazurki played some football and did some wrestling in his younger days, and it was his imposing bulk and tough–looking mug that got him in the door playing heavies in the glory days of gangster movies in the 1940’s. A look at his resume shows him popping up often in the best B movies of the era. There he is as the murderous Splitface in Dick Tracy. He’s fresh-from-prison crook Moose Malloy in Edward Dmytrks’ Murder My Sweet. He’s there playing nicely to type as a carnival strongman in the great Nightmare Alley, and most notably for me, as fiery wrestler The Strangler in arguably the greatest Noir of them all, Night and the City. He also got to help George Raft send up the gangster persona in Some Like it Hot, and has a smallish part in John Ford’s last great film, 1964’s Cheyenne Autumn.

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