Queen Of The Mob

  • 1940
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

A short crime thriller loosely based on the real-life exploits of Ma Barker and her sons which is jam-packed with thugs, G-men, and gunplay. Yurka is cast as the Barker-type mother whose wild brood of three sons--Denning, Seay, and Kelly--accompany her on a spree of bank robberies and a kidnaping. Traveling from state to state, the gang leaves a trail of...read more

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A short crime thriller loosely based on the real-life exploits of Ma Barker and her sons which is jam-packed with thugs, G-men, and gunplay. Yurka is cast as the Barker-type mother whose wild brood of three sons--Denning, Seay, and Kelly--accompany her on a spree of bank robberies and a

kidnaping. Traveling from state to state, the gang leaves a trail of mayhem behind, killing anyone who crosses its path. One holdup nets a hefty $400,000, but, unknown to the thugs, the money is "marked." The FBI is soon on their trail, led by super G-man Bellamy. Bellamy, a crafty agent who

doesn't miss a trick, quickly locates Yurka's hideout. In the process of tracking her down, two of her sons are killed by the "feds." The final confrontation occurs when G-men surround Yurka's home where she is trimming a Christmas tree for the local kiddies (her last surviving son donning a Santa

Claus outfit). A burst of gunfire fells her son, leaving Yurka with no other choice but to surrender. The fourth and final crime picture based on J. Edgar Hoover's best seller Persons in Hiding (PERSONS IN HIDING, UNDERCOVER DOCTOR (both 1939), and PAROLE FIXER (1940) preceded), QUEEN OF THE MOB

clearly was based on Barker and her boys, though oddly no reviews at the time made any reference to this fact. Not surprisingly, QUEEN OF THE MOB tells a tale that is far from the truth. Yurka's portrayal of the cold, murderous Barker (who, incidentally, never served a day in prison) is a much

more favorable, and therefore publicly acceptable, one. Instead of displaying crazed ferocity, Yurka comes off as a mother who unconditionally loves her children and all the neighborhood kiddies as well--an ideal mom. After putting Yurka on such a pedestal, the filmmakers could hardly kill her

off. In real life, Ma Barker put up quite a fight along with her son Fred during a 45-minute gun battle in Florida. Ma and Fred were found afterward, their bullet-ridden bodies slumped on the ground, still clutching their Tommy guns. A Hollywood film just wasn't the place to show a mother--even if

it was Ma Barker--being slain by the FBI, especially for fear that the public's perception of the "feds" would suffer. Super-gangster Jimmy Cagney's sister Jeanne does well in a supporting role, as does Robert Ryan in his screen debut. Like the others in the series, this film--far and away the

best of the four--was cranked out in less than three weeks.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A short crime thriller loosely based on the real-life exploits of Ma Barker and her sons which is jam-packed with thugs, G-men, and gunplay. Yurka is cast as the Barker-type mother whose wild brood of three sons--Denning, Seay, and Kelly--accompany her on… (more)

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