I hope you’ve enjoyed our week with George Raft. We’ve seen him dance as a young man, we’ve seen him interviewed as an 85 year old…and now let’s see him as portrayed by Ray Danton in the trailer to the incredibly trashy looking biopic ‘The George Raft Story’ (they really put their heads together to come up with that title). The movie was directed by the colorless Joseph Newman and starred the then-hot Danton who had just come off of playing ‘Legs’ Diamond (a gangster who, unlike Raft, skipped the movie star gig and just got murdered). Danton was a fine actor who never, to my eyes, was featured in a vehicle of the quality he deserved.( Later in life he became an episodic TV director, bitterly complaining in a 1985 interview “acting in this country has sunk to an all time low”). From the looks of this trailer, Raft is portrayed as everything he says he isn’t on the Mike Douglas TV interview I posted yesterday–violent, cruel to women etc. It appears that he knocks someone out in every scene (or threatens too) and that his primary career is as a gangster, not an actor. What did Raft think of this film? I’m not sure he was forthcoming about it. But he did tell Danton “We have to make careful they [the filmmakers] don’t make this guy [Raft] into a heavy.” Danton later said: “I thought it was a strange, obtuse thing to say.” Perhaps Raft had a premonition that the movie of his life wasn’t exactly going to stand as a sterling testament to his strong, moral values and upright citizenry. I’ve never seen ‘The George Raft Story’ and it’s likely that viewing the trailer will suffice. But any movie that features both Jayne Mansfield and Julie London can’t be all bad so let’s not be hasty about these things…


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