Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (film)

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is a 1957 American film noir crime film directed by Arnold Laven and starring Richard Egan, Jan Sterling, Dan Duryea, Julie Adams, Walter Matthau, Charles McGraw and Sam Levene.[1]

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
Theatrical release poster
Directed byArnold Laven
Produced byAlbert Zugsmith
Screenplay byLawrence Roman
StarringRichard Egan
Jan Sterling
Dan Duryea
Julie Adams
Walter Matthau
Charles McGraw
Sam Levene
Music byHerschel Burke Gilbert
CinematographyFred Jackman, Jr.
Edited byRussell F. Schoengarth
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 1, 1957 (1957-09-01) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film is a story of crime on New York's waterfront. It is based on the non-fiction book The Man Who Rocked the Boat, an autobiography by William Keating, played by Egan in the film. The book chronicles Keating's experiences as an assistant district attorney and as counsel to the New York City Anti-crime Committee. In the portion of the book depicted in the film, Keating pursued a murder prosecution for a waterfront hit despite widespread corruption that stretched all the way into the district attorney's office.

The title comes from the Richard Rodgers ballet of the same name, which was featured in the 1936 play On Your Toes. The plot line of the movie has no relation to the play, but the composition by Rodgers is indeed heard in the film, in an adaptation by Herschel Burke Gilbert (under the direction of music supervisor Joseph Gershenson) that was praised as "magnificent."[2]

The was one of the first major film roles performed by Walter Matthau before he became a star. Here he plays a waterfront gang boss.


Thugs working for union boss Al Dahlke ambush and shoot Solly Pitts, an honest man who hires longshoremen on the docks. Solly is wounded and hospitalized, looked after by wife Madge, who trusts Lt. Tony Vosnick to see that justice is done.

The district attorney, Howard Rysdale, turns over the investigation to a relative novice, Bill Keating. As his marriage to fiancee Daisy Pauly draws near, Keating tries in vain to get longshoremen to speak with him about activities on the docks. An intermediary tries to persuade Keating to collude with Dahlke, who issues vague threats after Bill rejects him.

With witnesses intimidated and discredited by attorney John Jacob Masters in court, Bill and Daisy receive an anonymous death threat on their wedding day. Keating goes to the docks for a direct confrontation with Dahlke's men and triggers a near-riot. As the dust settles, the men hear on the radio that Solly's attackers have been found guilty.


See also


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