|Warren Oates and Ray Danton|
After doing a dancing act with his partner, Alice, (Karen Steele), Jack Diamond (Ray Danton) manipulates his way into the camp of roaring twenties' mobster Arnold Rothstein (Robert Lowery) and even romances his woman, Monica (Elaine Stewart of Most Dangerous Man Alive). Rothstein christens Jack "Legs" and is somewhat amused by his rival's all-too-obvious ambition. As Jack becomes a competitor, as well as a murderer many times over, he also manipulates Alice into marrying him, to the consternation of the authorities who'd hoped for her help. Legs brags that he is unkillable -- but is that really the case? Legs Diamond is another film that takes a few facts about a legendary gangster and somehow manages to make the man's life more cliched and less interesting than it actually was. Although Ray Danton [I'll Cry Tomorrow] offers his customary charismatic performance, he is hardly perect casting -- what this needs is the almost manic energy of a Cagney. Robert Lowery [Batman and Robin] scores as Rothstein, and there's some good work from Steele; Stewart; Warren Oates as Legs' brother, Eddie; Joseph Ruskin as Rothstein's bodyguard, Moran; and Judson Pratt as Legs' associate Fats. Simon Oakland is the cop investigating Legs; Dyan Cannon is another bimbo; and Gordon Jones -- the second serial hero in the cast -- is an old Army "buddy" of Legs' who goes to work for him. The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond is not especially well directed and despite the subject matter even becomes boring after awhile. This is one of the few starring roles handed to Ray Danton, and it's a shame Warner Brothers couldn't have assigned him to a better picture, as he was certainly a dynamic figure. The following year Danton reprised his role of Legs in Portrait of a Mobster about Dutch Schultz, and David Janssen played Rothstein in King of the Roaring 20's, in which the character of Legs did not appear.
Verdict: This study of an unrepentant sociopath should have been much sharper. **.