Force of Evil

1948 film by Abraham Polonsky

Force of Evil is a 1948 film noir about an unethical lawyer who, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Directed by Abraham Polonsky. Written by Ira Wolfert and Abraham Polonsky, based on Wolfert's novel Tucker's People.

Joe Morse edit

  • This is Wall Street... and today was important because tomorrow - July Fourth - I intended to make my first million dollars. An exciting day in any man's life. Temporarily, the enterprise was slightly illegal. You see I was the lawyer for the numbers racket.
  • A man could spend the rest of his life trying to remember what he shouldn't have said.
  • I found my brother's body at the bottom there, where they had thrown it away on the rocks... by the river... like an old dirty rag nobody wants. He was dead - and I felt I had killed him. I turned back to give myself up to Hall; because if a man's life can be lived so long and come out this way - like rubbish - then something was horrible and had to be ended one way or another... and I decided to help.

Leo Morse edit

  • All that Cain did to Abel was murder him.
  • I am sensible. I am calm. I'll give you my answer calmly and sensibly, my final answer. My final answer is finally no. The answer is no! Absolutely and finally no! Finally and positively no! No! No! No! N - O!

Wally edit

  • What do you mean "gangsters"? It's business.

Dialogue edit

[after Joe bails his brother, Doris and the others out of jail]
Doris Lowry: You know I've got my whole life to think about now and you won't be of any help.
Joe Morse: How do you know? You know everything I touch turns to gold. Its raining out and I promised my brother to take you home.
Doris Lowry: Well, that's a lie.
Joe Morse: Well, it's not true; but I would have had he asked. You know you can't tell about your life 'til you're all through living it. Come on, I'll give you a lift. You're tired, I'm tireder. What can happen to either one of us? You tell me the story of your life and maybe I can suggest a happy ending.

Edna Tucker: You're wide open, Joe. I can see into you without looking.
Joe Morse: Don't bother; besides it's not nice to do.
Edna Tucker: More interesting than when you have a rock for a husband like mine. He's a stone, that man. Whole world are rocks and stones to him.
Joe Morse: Why tell me? Tell him.
Edna Tucker: Never tell him anything. Makes me feel unnecessary.
Joe Morse: If I make you feel necessary then I'm making a mistake.

Sylvia Morse: [referring to Joe] Don't have anything to do with him, Leo. You're a businessman.
Leo Morse: Yes. I've been a businessman all my life. And honest - I don't know what a business is.
Sylvia Morse: Well, you had a garage... you had a real estate business.
Leo Morse: A lot you know. Real estate business... living from mortgage to mortgage... stealing credit like a thief. And the garage - that was a business! Three cents overcharge on every gallon of gas: two cents for the chauffeur and a penny for me. Penny for one thief, two cents for the other. Well, Joe's here now - I won't have to steal pennies anymore. I'll have big crooks to steal dollars for me!

Joe Morse: If you need a broken man to love, break your husband. I'm not a nickel, I don't spend my life in a telephone! If that's what you want for love, you can't use me.
Edna Tucker: You're not strong or weak enough.

Joe Morse: Wouldn't you like to celebrate on a really large scale, Miss Lowry?
Doris Lowry: What are you celebrating, Mr. Morse?
Joe Morse: A clear conscience.
Doris Lowry: Oh, whose?

Leo Morse: The money I made in this rotten business is no good for me, Joe. I don't want it back. And Tucker's money is no good either.
Joe Morse: The money has no moral opinions.
Leo Morse: I find I have, Joe. I find I have.

About the film edit

  • Force of Evil stands up under repeated viewings as one of the great films of the modern American cinema...

Cast edit

External links edit

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