Mobsters, Molls, Murder, The Old-Fashioned Way:
They're all on show tonight and tomorrow: Capone, Costello and Castellano; Lansky, Lepke and Luciano; Gotti, Gallo and Gambino, along with many lesser initiates into Murder Inc. and La Cosa Nostra whose exploits keep turning up in books and movies and on television.
"Loyalty and Betrayal: The Story of the American Mob" is among the snappiest of the genre. Based on a book by Sidney Zion, who is much on screen as an enthusiastic authority, the four-hour chronicle features over-the-hill mobsters and molls telling of the good old era of broad-shouldered bears and bare-shouldered broads enjoying the rewards of bootlegging, bookmaking, loan sharking, extortion and, naturally, murder. The production is appropriately pulpish.
Some of the tales sound tall, but that's always the problem when the subjects of a show are in no position to sue for libel. Anyway, the gamey history is punchily put together, with an abundance of newsreels and old movies to illustrate the anecdotes of former insiders or hangers-on. My favorite witness is the nostalgic woman who says of a lethal relative, "He didn't kill ordinary people; he killed important people."
This is my EMMY award winning first episode of a 4 hour mini-series on the Mob, first aired on FOX in 1994.
I edited, wrote and co-directed this episode
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