Johnny O'Clock (Dick Powell) is a junior partner in a posh casino with Guido Marchettis (Thomas Gomez), but is senior in the eyes of Nelle (Ellen Drew)—Guido's wife and Johnny's ex. This love triangle leads to a web of complications, leaving Police Inspector Koch (Lee J. Cobb) to unravel the threads of deceit and a murdered casino employee's sister (Evelyn Keyes) to tug on Johnny's heartstrings before it's too late.
Three years after song-and-dance man Dick Powell reshaped his nice-guy image by playing hard-boiled gumshoe Phillip Marlowe in Murder My Sweet, he returned to film noir with this crime-based thriller. Johnny O'Clock (Dick Powell) and his partner Pete Marchettis (Thomas Gomez) operate a gambling casino that has seen better days. Chuck Blayden (Jim Bannon), a cop on the take, wants in on the casino, and he makes friends with Pete while trying to convince him that Johnny, the smarter of the two, should go. When Chuck's girlfriend Harriet (Nina Foch) is found dead, a supposed suicide, his sister Nancy (Evelyn Keyes) smells a rat, especially after Chuck skips town. Nancy is convinced that her sister was murdered, and she asks Johnny to help her prove it. Johnny, who already has a number of women in his life – including Nelle (Ellen Drew), Pete's wife – figures that one more can't hurt and agrees to help her. But Police Inspector Koch (Lee J. Cobb), convinced that Johnny and Pete were behind Harriet's death, is making it hard for Johnny to do much investigating, and matters get worse when Chuck's body is found floating in the river. Screenwriter Robert Rossen made his directorial debut with this film, 14 years later, he would return to this film's tough, gritty style for his best picture.
Recorded during his five year "vacation" from Duke Ellington's orchestra, this Johnny Hodges set features his band sticking mostly to standards. With trumpeter Harold "Shorty" Baker, trombonist Lawrence Brown, baritonist Harry Carney, pianist Call Cobbs, or Richie Powell, bassist John Williams, drummer Louis Bellson, and either Jimmy Hamilton or John Coltrane (who unfortunately does not solo) on tenor, Hodges had a particularly strong group. High points include "On the Sunny Side of the Street," the title track and a seven-song ballad medley.
Showdown! is a blues album by Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland, released in 1985 through Alligator Records. The album won the Best Traditional Blues Recording Grammy Award in 1986. 2011 release includes bonus track.
These distinctive small-group sessions, featuring Duke Ellington as pianist in a blues context, are part of a group of recordings issued under the confusing titles Back to Back and Side by Side, and further reissued under the not particularly distinctive name of Blues Summit. But there should be no confusion about the high quality of music that came out of these sessions – it is all "cooking with gas" as the expression goes. From the jazz world, it would be difficult to find more profound soloists on traditional blues numbers than the Duke or his longtime collaborator Johnny Hodges, who does some of the most soulful playing of his career here.