Chicago Syndicate (film)

Chicago Syndicate is a 1955 film noir crime film directed by Fred F. Sears starring Dennis O'Keefe and Abbe Lane.[1]

Chicago Syndicate
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFred F. Sears
Produced bySam Katzman
Written byJoseph Hoffman
William Sackheim (story)
StarringDennis O'Keefe
Abbe Lane
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Fred Jackman Jr.
Edited byViola Lawrence
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 1955 (1955-07)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States


Accountant and war hero Barry Amsterdam is asked by Chicago newspaper editor David Healey and civic leaders to go undercover and infiltrate the crime syndicate of Arnold Valent, who runs a corrupt insurance business. Valent is believed responsible for murdering bookkeeper Nelson Kern, who had gone to the newspaper with proof of the criminal activity.

Barry hears how Kern's wife then committed suicide and daughter Joyce was committed to an institution. That and a $60,000 reward convince him to accept the dangerous job. He goes to a nightclub Valent owns, the Maracas, meeting a woman named Sue Morton who helps him gain access. There he meets Valent's girlfriend, singer Connie Peters. He then tells Valent he was a witness to Kern's murder and will go to police unless Valent makes him a better offer.

Valent hires but doesn't trust him, at least until Barry, secretly working with the police, arranges a jewel theft and insurance scam. Turning again to Sue Morton for help, she pulls a gun on Barry and orders him to leave. But she learns from police who he really is, Sue works with Barry, revealing she is actually the murdered man's daughter, Joyce Kern.

Unable to find some incriminating microfilm, Barry runs out of options until he schemes to make Connie jealous by introducing the other woman to Valent, who makes a play for her. Connie threatens to expose Valent, whose thugs give her a brutal beating. She gets the microfilm to Barry, who is shot and wounded before Valent is killed by the police.



The King Brothers sued Columbia and Clover Productions for damages of $1 million due to their using the title Chicago Syndicate, claiming they registered the title The Syndicate in 1950.[2]


  1. Chicago Syndicate at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. $1,000,000 SUIT FILED OVER USE OF FILM TITLE Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Jan 1955: 7.
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