THE CASE AGAINST ELIOT NESS

Airdate: May 10th, 1962
Written by George Eckstein
Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski
Produced by Del Reisman
Director of Photography
Co-starring Bruce Gordon, Jeanne Cooper
Special Guest Star Pat Hingle
Featuring Cliff Camell, Frank Wilcox, Joseph Turkel, Shirley
Ira, Bruce Anderson, Robert Palmer, George Murdoch, Robert Bice, Bruno Ve Sota, Ed Tontini, Chris Carter, Sid Haig, Martin Clark

“In 1933, the City of Chicago became 100 years old. To celebrate the occasion Chicago planned a birthday party and invited the world. The name given to the festivities was the Century Of Progress. In other parts of Chicago however, the civic anniversary was being celebrated in a different manner. On the night of March 4th, 1933, the three Endicott brothers, the joint holders of various franchises at the Century of Progress, spent their last night on Earth.”

Former Chicago alderman Mitchell Grandin (Pat Hingle) sets himself up
to obtain lucrative franchises at the Chicago World’s Fair. He arranges for the demise of three franchise owners, the Endicott brothers, and sets up Gus Dmytryk (Joseph Turkel), another franchisee, to take a fall that will highlight visibility with the franchise commission es tempting to gather evidence on the Endicott killings, ns across Dolf Cagle (Cliff Carnell), who, as it happens, has Grandin’s phone number listed in his little black book. Suspecting that Grandin may be somehow involved, Ness arrives to counsel the franchise commission. Grandin, arriving a few minutes after Ness, confronts the federal agent and an argument ensues, wherein Ness loses his temper and accuses Grandin of murder. Grandin files suit and seeks Frank Nitti’s help in getting rid of the evidence.

Nitti, not content with a token reward for services rendered, decides to go into business with the reluctant Grandin and has all but one of the men involved in the Endicott killings murdered. He spares Dolf Cagle to use against Grandin, and sets Cagel’s wife (Jeanne Cooper), up to identify the body of a John Doe to throw Ness off the trail. But Ness doesn’t believe that Mrs. Cagle is telling the truth. She was spotted entering Nitt’s club and found to be carrying a cash horde when questioned. Ness attempts to convince her that both she and her concealed husband will be killed by Nitti or Grandin when the deal is over.

The couple decides to run, but a policeman guns Cagle down as he attempts to flee. Finally coming to terms their her precarious position, Mrs. Cagledecides to cooperate with Ness. Grandin up to kill off her husband in return for a large cash payment that he willingly puts up. When Grandin arrives at Cagle’s hotel room, Ness and a newspaper photographer lurk in the dark to catch Grandin in the act. Case dismissed.

“On April 29th, 1933, the Chicago Century Of Progress was opened to the public. On that night the power of the distant star of tourists was harnessed to turn on the lights for the giant exhibition. Among the thousands of happy and curious visitors were Eliot Ness and his Untouchables.”

REVIEW

Predictable, certainly, but engaging with various twists and turns, The Case Against Eliot Ness features writer George Eckstein’s sly curve thrown at those who took issue with ethnic names. Try to find a country of orgin for a name like Dymytryk. Dymytryk isn’t a name at all, but a jumble of letters that sounds, sure enough, just like a real name.

Ness takes center stage to defend his reputation and gets a chance to slap a few goons around in the process. “You’re a real fancy hood Cagle, and I’ll tell you something…I want to see how tough you are when the electrodes are snapped on,” Ness bites.

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GALLERY

Kelly Lynch

Kelly Lynch

Kelly Lynch is a filmmaker and marketing professional whose award-winning work and love for cinema were largely influenced by his early exposure to The Untouchables, thanks to his father’s own fascination with the series. In addition to recompiling his father's book and research on the program, Lynch has also spent years researching, watching, collecting and studying the artistic and cultural impact of the program.

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