Force of Evil fails to develop the excitement hinted at in the title. Makers apparently couldn’t decide on the best way to present an expose of the numbers racket, winding up with neither fish nor fowl as far as hard-hitting racketeer meller is concerned. A poetic, almost allegorical, interpretation keeps intruding on the tougher elements of the plot. This factor adds no distinction and only makes the going tougher.
Garfield, as to be expected, comes through with a performance that gets everything out of the material furnished. Film also introduces Beatrice Pearson but she garners no great honors for herself.
Plot, based on Ira Wolfert’s novel Tucker’s People, deals with the racketeers who fatten off the little person’s nickels and dimes that daily are played on the numbers game. It is not a lucid expose as filmed.
On the technical side, the production fares better than story-wise. The physical mounting is expertly valued; the New York locale shots give authenticity; and lensing by George Barnes, while a bit on the arty side, displays skilled craftsmanship.