Rumble on the Docks

Rumble on the Docks is a 1956 American crime film noir directed by Fred F. Sears and starring James Darren.[1]

Rumble on the Docks
Directed byFred F. Sears
Produced bySam Katzman
Screenplay byLou Morheim
Jack DeWitt
Based onthe novel Rumble on the Docks by Frank Paley
StarringJames Darren
CinematographyBenjamin H. Kline
Edited byJerome Thoms
Clover Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 1956 (1956-12)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States


Jimmy Smigelski, living near the docks of Brooklyn, is quick to help when a neighborhood girl, Della, and her little brother are menaced by some thugs. Joe Brindo, a racketeer Jimmy's honest father Pete blames for an incident that crippled him, is impressed by Jimmy and takes him under his wing.

Jimmy is caught in a rivalry between two local gangs. He also is asked to testify at a trial, angering his father when the outcome benefits the gangster. Jimmy eventually changes his ways and ends up working in his father's print shop.


  • James Darren as Jimmy Smigelski
  • Laurie Carroll as Della
  • Michael Granger as Joe Brindo
  • Jerry Janger as Rocky
  • Robert Blake as Chuck
  • Edgar Barrier as Pete Smigelski
  • Celia Lovsky as Anna Smigelski
  • David Bond as Dan Kevlin
  • Timothy Carey as Frank Mangus
  • Dan Terranova as 'Stomper' Tony Lightning
  • Barry Froner as Poochie
  • Don Devlin as Wimpy
  • Stephen H. Sears as Cliffie
  • Joseph Vitale as Ferd Marchesi
  • David Orrick McDearmon as Lawyer Gotham (as David Orrick)
  • Larry J. Blake as Officer Fitz
  • Robert C. Ross as Gil Danco
  • Steve Warren as Sully
  • Don Garrett as Bo-Bo
  • Joel Ashley as Dist. Atty. Fuller
  • Salvatore Anthony as Kid with Wallet
  • Freddie Bell as Himself, Freddie Bell (as Freddie Bell and His Bellboys)
  • The Bellboys as Themselves, The Bellboys (as Freddie Bell and His Bellboys)


The film was based on a 1953 novel by "Frank Paley", a social worker writing under a pseudonym.[2] The New York Times thought "Mr Paley's narrative powers are not up to his descriptive ones."[3]

Sam Katzman bought the film rights in 1955.[4]

The lead role was given to James Darren, who had recently been signed to a long term contract by Columbia. It was his first movie.[5] Katzman also introduced newcomers Laurie Connell and Sal Anthony.[6]

Filming started 18 June 1956.[7]


James Darren later said of the movie, "Fred Sears was a wonderful director. That really was my first break because I started getting 400-500 letters a month from that film. You're not talking about a major film here. So, that kind of put me on a different level at the studio and they took notice."[8]


  1. "Rumble on the Docks (1956) - Articles -". Turner Classic Movies.
  2. IN AND OUT OF BOOKS By HARVEY BREIT. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 July 1953: BR8.
  3. Mistaken Loyalties: RUMBLE ON THE DOCKS. By Frank Paley. 367 pp. New York: Crown Publishers. $3.75. Whitman, Alden. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Jan 1954: BR24.
  4. NEW FILM PROCESS IS SHOWN BY FOX: 55-mm. CinemaScope Scenes From 'Carousel' Have More Depth, Striking Brilliance By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 Nov 1955: 43
  5. KIM NOVAK IS CAST AS JEANNE EAGELS: Will Portray Title Figure of Famous Actress in Film for Columbia Pictures Seltzers Plan 'Mr.Tex' By OSCAR GODBOUT Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 04 July 1956: 14.
  6. Drama: Rex and Rhodes Reason Both Strike New Paths; Paris Bids for Menjou Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 10 July 1956: A9.
  7. Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 29 May 1956: 32.
  8. Productions, Pore-Lee-Dunn. "Interview With James Darren".
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