Lansky (1999)


 

 

Director:    John McNaughton.

Starring:    Richard Dreyfuss (Meyer Lansky), Yosef Carmon (Rabbi / Caretaker), Mosko Alkalai (Jewelry Shopkeeper), Fima Noveck (Hasid in Grodno), Joshua Praw (Meyer Lansky Age 8), Bernie Hiller (Max Lansky), Jill Holden (Yetta Lansky), Larry Moss (Benjamin Lansky), Chris Marquette (Jake Lansky Ages 9-11), Ryan Merriman (Meyer Lansky Ages 12-14), Benjamin Kimball Smith (Irish Gang Leader), Brian Casey (Irish Boy #1), Adam Hendershott (Irish Boy #2), Daniel Sagal (Irish Boy #3), Anthony Medwetz (Benny Siegel Age 11).

Produced for HBO.

One of the most powerful and richest of U.S. crime syndicate chiefs and bankers, who had major interests in gambling, especially in Florida, pre-Castro Cuba, Las Vegas, and the Bahamas.

 

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  

 

 


Historical Background:

Meyer Lansky

1902 --  born Polis Jew Maier Suchowljansky, Grodno, Russia.

1911  --  Lansky immigrates with his parents to New York's Lower East Side.

1918 --  he and Bugsy Siegel run a floating crap game; then start into auto theft and resale.

1920s  -- Lansky's gang branches into burglaries, liquor smuggling, and other rackets.  The gang comes under the control of crime boss Giuseppe Masseria. Lansky and Siegel develop a squad of professional murderers for hire, the prototype for the later Murder, Inc., headed by Louis Buchalter and Albert Anastasia.

1928  --  Lansky becomes a naturalized citizen.

1931  --   Lansky persuades Lucky Luciano to assassinate Masseria and to make a loan to Bugsy Siegel for the purpose.

1932-34 --  Lansky joins Luciano and Johnny Torrio, among others, to form the national crime syndicate with Lansky as its major overseers and bankers, often laundering funds through foreign accounts.

1936 --  Lansky begins to develop gambling operations in Florida and New Orleans and also in Cuba (making payoffs to Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista). He also finances Bugsy Siegel's casino developments in Las Vegas.

1947  -- ordered Siegel's execution when Siegel skims money from the syndicate.

1959  --  Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba, chasing Lansky out.

1960s  --  Lansky builds casinos on Grand Bahama and Paradise islands in the Bahamas.

1970 --  his total holdings amount to $300,000,000 dollars.

1970  --  fearing indictment for income-tax evasion, he flees to Israel, but that country expels him.  

1973 --  is convicted of grand jury contempt, a verdict overturned on appeal, and acquitted of income-tax evasion.

1974  --  other indictments abandoned partly because of his chronic ill health.

1979  --  the House of Representatives Assassinations Committee, ending its two-year investigation of the Warren Commission report, links Lansky with Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who killed presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

1983  -- Lansky dies of lung cancer and is buried in Miami in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony.

 

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