The Big Operator (DVD)

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In a bold departure from his musical comedy roles, Mickey Rooney plays Little Joe Braun, a brash labor union boss who uses strong-arm tactics to evade a federal corruption probe. Two honest factory-workers—Steve Cochran (Private Hell 36) and velvet-voiced Mel Tormé—find themselves caught in the gang lord’s struggle for power, but come to realize they have the power to end Little Joe’s reign of terror...if they can survive Little Joe’s attempts to silence them.

Produced by Albert Zugsmith (Touch of Evil, High School Confidential), the king of the tawdry B-picture, The Big Operator is a sublime specimen of Cold War-era noir, highlighted by the special appearances of pop culture icons Mamie Van Doren, Vampira, Jim Backus, and Jackie Coogan.