King of the Roaring Twenties (1961)




Director:       Joseph M. Newman.

Starring:      David Janssen (Arnold Rothstein), Dianne Foster (wife), Jack Carson (crooked politician), Mickey Shaughnessy (Rothstein's partner), Dan O'Herlihy (police detective), Diana Dors, Mickey Rooney (Rothstein's friend).

Fanciful story based on life of gangster Arnold Rothstein, American big-time gambler, bootlegger, and friend of high-placed politicians and businessmen, who dominated influence-peddling in the 1920s in New York City.




Historical Background:



Arnold Rothstein

1882/83  --  born in New York City's East Side, the son of a middle-class Jewish family.

Rothstein in his teens was already involved in gambling and loansharking.

1920s  -- He becomes the paramount fixer, one who acts as go-between between politicians, businessmen, and criminals.  H would fix business contracts with the city, quash arrests, get permissions to operate speakeasies and other criminal enterprises, paid off politicians and police, and worked as a banker for bootlegging and other illegal enterprises.

Rothstein was an independent  -- he did not have his own gang.  He used Jewish, Italian, and Irish thugs. He always looked well-tailored and he was well-mannered as well.  This quiet look of respectability became the model for later heads of organized crime.

1928, Nov. 4  --   shot in a high-stakes poker game at the Park Central Hotel in New York City; dies two days later in a hospital. The trial of suspect Hump McManus ends in acquittal.




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