Crime Inc.

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History, Sociopolitical Documentary hosted by Martin Short, published by Thames Television in 1984 - English narration

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With archive film including home movies and FBI surveillance material, the award-winning Crime Inc. tells the true story behind the world's most powerful crime syndicate, the Mob, La Cosa Nostra or The Mafia.

Interviews with mob members turned informants, including former boss Jimmy 'The Weasel' Fratianno, reveal the inner workings of the mafia, from the ritual of becoming a ‘made’ man and their code of honor, to the harrowing and detailed descriptions of their work, accompanied by equally graphic images and film footage.

Crime Inc. dared to get close to the heart of 'The Family' and the result is frightening and compelling. Forget what you have seen in the movies. The fact is more shocking than the fiction.

The television series Crime Inc was produced in 1984 by the Thames Television, then offered for American syndication. This brilliantly assembled seven-part documentary of the rise of organized crime in America during the Prohibition years lay on the shelf until Geraldo Rivera's 1986 'investigation' of Al Capone's vault turned out to be the highest-rated syndicated special in history. The suddenly renewed interest in past criminal activity enabled D. L. Taffner, Crime Inc's distributor, to secure choice play dates in many American TV markets.

The project had an advantage over most documentaries in having interviews with modern day villains including ex-Los Angelas crime boss and noted hitman, Jimmy 'The Weasel' Fratianno, and the refined and smooth talking Ray Ferritto...the hitman who blew up Irishman Danny Greene, solving the mob's problems in Cleveland. Crime Inc later ran on the Arts & Entertainment cable service as 'Crime in America'.

'TV Shocker that lifts the lid on The Godfathers' – Daily Express

'Superb… But you've got to have a strong stomach' – The Sun

'The Godfather as a documentary' – New York Times

Written and Narrated Martin Short Directors : Ken Craig and Ian Stuttard Series Producer : John Edwards

Thames Television Production (1984)

[edit] All in the Family

Known as "the Honored Society," at its place of origin in Palermo and western Sicily, the Mafia was a massive criminal brotherhood that took control of all local governments and businesses in the western part of Sicily. The migration of Sicilians to the United States brought with it many members of "the Family." They began to take control of New York's five boroughs. Mafia organizations then spread to Chicago, New Orleans, Havana, Nevada, Mexico, and other places in the western hemisphere. This episode uses police surveillance films, home movies, and eyewitness accounts to look at the men who control "the Family." The first person you see and hear is Jimmy 'the weasel' Fratianno, a former Los Angeles boss, who describes his murder of Frank Borgia. He does this in a very matter of fact manner and this sets the tone for the whole series. There are no frills here, which makes it all the more compelling and disturbing.This first episode fittingly introduces the extent of the 'cosa nostra' in America. When law enforcement agencies raided an Appalachian house on November 14, 1957, they found eigthy of the USA's major crime figures gathered for a conference. As Edgar Croswell states on film, this is when the authorities first appreciated the size of organized crime in America.The documentary then explains how more was learned about the crime network through various figures turning states evidence. Joseph Valachi was the first ever to do this in 1963, and he was the man who publicly used the name 'cosa nostra' (shown through archive footage). The viewer is then introduced to three mafiosi who play the most prominent part in the series, in terms of interview time : Jimmy 'the weasel' Fratianno, Gerry Denono and Joey Cantalupe - all mafia figures who have turned informant. Bill Roemer, a former FBI agent, tells a gruesome account of how the mafia dealt with one suspected informer, Jackson. The programme goes on to give details about 'the gentle don', Angelo Bruno. This is an extensive part of this episode and includes archive news and family footage of his murder scene(unpleasant), interviews with law enforcement personnel and one of Bruno's daughters. No one knows exactly why he was killed but it is believed that it was because of his reluctance to get involved with drugs, and he is the epitomy of the old fashioned organised crime figure - with all its idealised notions that he was somehow 'honourable'. His way of running business had passed and his death was the start of a Philadelphia gang war - and interviews and footage reveal that violence is an increasing factor in the way the organisation is run.

[edit] Making of the Mob

This episode is an in-depth look into the shady underworld of the Mob. Starting with the government's prohibition of alcohol that gave the mob its foothold in the underbelly of America, to the illicit high-stakes drug wars that take place on the streets of today, in this second episode we see the gangsters and thugs that rose to notoriety within the violent world of organized crime. As suggested by the scene titles, this deals with the early days of the mob, primarily through the profits gleaned during the 'prohibition' era. It covers the rise and fall of Capone and the Chicago mob, built on the back of the temperance movement. The effect of the Depression is also touched upon in the Capone story. The programme also deals with the involvement of city officials (within the police department and civic positions) with figures from the mafia, and the lengths taken to address both the problems with illegal stills and internal corruption. As with the first episode, there is extensive archive footage and interviews with 'primary source' figures such as Vincent Persiante, a retired detective, who expounds on the ingenuity of the bootleggers. Naturally, the St Valentines Day Massacre of 1929 is discussed in detail. Tony Berardi, a young photographer at the time, recounts his experience of the massacre, the aftermath of which he captured on film. Despite the fall of Capone and the end of Prohibition, Chicago's mafia continued to flourish under a succession of bosses, including Tony Acardo, shown being interviewed by Robert Kennedy in the sixties. With this we are introduced to another infamous figure from the underworld - Sam Giancanna. His story is told by Roemer and the usual abundance of contemporary footage. Roemer's accounts are fascinating. The documentary even has interviews with Judith Exner, Giancanna's former mistress, giving a further perspective on a hugely significant figure within the history of the mafia and a man who is intergral to the story of the Kennedys. As such, the election of Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis are explained in terms of their relationship to the mafia. This follows through to the death of Giancanna in 1975 and a bloody period in Chicago's history. Fratianni was at his peak at the same time, and recounts the problems with the Chicago mob in the seventies and how they affected him. Dave Shiffers of the Chicago police summarises by saying that over the last 50 years, organized crime has increased dramatically, it is just better hidden with fewer high profile figures.

[edit] Racket Busters

Owing its rise to power to the Prohibition Era and the public's desire for illicit substances, organized crime has since branched out into many other ventures, both legal and illegal. In this episode, the subject is the law enforcement network, and its efforts to control the racketeering activities of the Mafia. Archival news clips, photographs, and personal accounts illustrate some of the highlights of the fight by the F.B.I. and its allies against the corruption of organized crime. This episode deals intially with J Edgar Hoover, the development of the FBI and its fight against organised crime. In the 1930s gang warfare exploded in New York as did gun related crime in general, and the subsequent public outrage led to a new breed of police. The likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty Boy Floyd and Dillinger were high profile victories for the law enforcement agencies. The documentary covers these with fascinating contemporary footage and explains the propoganda used by the FBI to ease public fear and reinforce their own prestige. Background information to the rise of the mafia in America from the surge of immigrants from Europe in the 1880s and 90s is given first person perspective from an interview with Charles Suraga, a narcotics agent who spent his childhood in one of the immigrant districts of New York. Victor Herwitz, a former rackets lawyer, explains how the organised street level crime of these immigrant districts led to such profits that the police were bought and even the mayor , Jimmy Walker, was not untouchable from the rife corruption of 1920s New York. The documentary continues with the work of the FBI and the burea of Narcotics in their battle with organised crime. The focus is on the head of the Narcotics Bureau, Anslinger - a forward thinking investigator. Part of this story leads to a short biography of Genovese, Luciano's successor as America's mob boss. Cleveland was one of the mafia hotspots targeted and we are then given an extensive history of the Cleveland mafia. Penetration of the aforementioned branch of the mob increased dramatically in the 1970s through the likes of Steve Olah of the Cleveland Strike Force. He, himself, gives an account of the history and the situation as it stood when this programme was made. He touches on the remarkable Danny Greene, who headed an Irish crime syndicate intent on replacing the Italian mafia in Cleveland. Yet again the documentary is enriched with archive interview footage with the man himself. The hitman eventually responsible for 'whacking' Greene, Ray Ferritto, tells his own story of the saga. He is another extraordinary interviewee. Greene's very public death, led directly to the further development of the task force and their current high profile involvement in attacking the Cleveland mafia. As for Ferritto, a hit was put out on him, so that the mafia could minimise the threat to themselves. Ferritto turned state's evidence and the remainder of the episode deals with the trial of the Cleveland bosses, Ferrittos personal feelings on his precarious existence and the ongoing efforts of the strike force.

[edit] Birthright of Gangsters

The migration of Sicilians to America brought with it members of the Family, a highly organized subculture that controlled the political power structure of the western region of Italy. The concept transferred well to America, in both New York and Chicago. This episode looks at the success of the mafia in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, where organized crime gained a stronghold. For the first twenty five years gambling was uncensored in Vegas, but the 1955 establishment of The Nevada Gaming Commission led to tighter laws. The programme starts with Sinatra's suspected involvement with the mafia, particularly Sam Giancanna, through his ownership of a Vegas casino and which was investigated by the Commission. Sinatra's involvement stems from Judith Drexler, who certainly has a list of lovers - Giancanna, Kennedy and Sinatra to name but three. The documentary shows extensive coverage of Sinatra's testimony in front of the commission. The Vegas casinos have been a big earner for the mafia as explained by Gerry Denono, who reveals how the money was displaced through the crime syndicate. Money was also poured in to the casinos through mafia controlled heads of pension funds and unions. The truck drivers union, the teamsters were hit particularly hard. Proof of the extent of mafia involvement came when it was proved that bookie Richard Glick was 'loaned' 90 million dollars by the mafia to buy two casinos, which were skimmed for 7 million dollars in just the first two years. The programme then moves to Atlanta. When Brendan Burn organised casinos here, he vowed to keep the mafia away. Atlanta has nine casinos which have a higher turnover than Vegas, and stringent methods have been deployed to halt mafia takeovers through respectable frontmen or employees in the cage. However, the documentary goes on to reveal that the way round this is for the mafia to control the casino supplies through the unions. The majority of the casino employees are members of 'Local 54' which has been controlled by the Philadelphia mafia from the days of Angelo Bruno. Under the new boss, Nicky Scarfo, this continued so as Donoghue points out, from the napkins to the garbage collection everything but the gambling itself is mafia controlled. This is more or less acknowledged on film by Lt Col Justin Duntino, of the New Jersey state police. Gambling is the 'birthright of gangsters' and if they cannot control the casinos through gaining licences, then they will control them through the unions that handle the staff and the supplies. The mafia controlled the casinos in Atlanta before a brick was laid.

[edit] The Mob at Work

Patterned after the model of the Family in Sicily, mafia activities in America centered in large industrial centers, such as New York and Chicago. Part of the mob's success was its ability to deliver jobs. It was only natural that its influence would be felt in organized labor. The film looks at those ties and practices, and the unsolved case of Jimmy Hoffa. This episode tells the history of the mafia involvement through the unions. Only after violent protests did unions establish themselves in the USA, and from early on the mafia became involved. Strikes by the unions were broken up by thugs hired by the employers. In turn the union hired gangsters to 'fight fire with fire'. Fratianno tells how he started this way, being hired to lead gangs to protect the workers and fight the opposing thugs in pitch battles in the numerous strikes of the 1920's. Once the gangsters were involved, they gradually assumed power in the unions, particularly the ILA (docker's union) in New York. Workers were then exploited by such means as kick backs for gaining employment. All rivals and those who spoke out were disposed of, until eventually Johnny Dwyer (interviewed here) took a stand to rid the union of the mafia. The union was led by Anthony Anastasia, a high ranking mafiosi, whose brother Albert was head of 'Murder Incorporated'. With the escalating violence, public outcry meant that the Waterfront Commission was established and succeeded in ridding the New York ILA of mafia control. But they just moved on. Miami's docks became a target when the city's profile and business boomed in the 1960's. The mafia's greatest involvement was with the development of the roads and the subsequent rise in membership of the teamsters, the lorry drivers' union. Their leader was Jimmy Hoffa, who rose to the ranks of National President in1957, on a wave of popularity but also with the heavy involvement of mafia associates. The membership of the teamsters totalled over 2 million and its pension, insurance and other funds amounted to billions of dollars. The programme shows the senate committee questioning Hoffa when it was obvious that he was in allegience with the mafia, and most notably Tony 'Pro'. Hoffa was being controlled by the mafia, and when he was jailed for misappropriation of funds the mafia tightened its grip by securing the Presidency for a man named Fitzsimons. Upon his release, Hoffa assumed that he would be reinstated by his mob friends but they were happy with their man and there was no room for Hoffa. He would not accept this and he disappeared in 1975. Though his body has not been found, Fratianno states that he was murdered for the reasons mentioned above. Tony 'Pro' is descibed as a paranoid schizaphrenic by the heavily disguised Ralph Picardo, another mobster turned FBI informer. He was contracted by Tony 'Pro' to sabotage shipping companies and was shown his own grave by the mob boss, in case he got too ambitious. Picardo explains the methods used to extort money from the shipping companies from polluting the petrol tanks to putting people on the payroll who did not even exist. The programme closes with the fact that at the time of filming, the mafias interest in the teamsters remained as strong as it ever had.

[edit] Make it Legitimate

Mob presence in the political and business infrastructures of cities like New York and Chicago gave the Mafia the power base needed to run illicit activities, such as gambling and bootlegging. A phenomenon of the modern era of Mafia business is its infiltration into legitimate commerce, as a cover for illegal activities. The episode looks at some of these practices and government measures to stop them. Joey Cantalupe opens this episode by basically stating that one of the keys to the success of the mafia empire is its ability to make profit from legitimate business alongside its illegal rackets. A typical example that is explored in this episode is loan sharking, one of the earliest mafia activities. The immigrant communities from which the mafia sprouted in the USA provide the ideal customers for the loan sharks. Despite the extortionate interest rates charged by these gangsters, there are always people looking for loans, because they cannot get credit through legitimate avenues. This is explained by John Vitale, a victim of loan sharks, who was still avoiding the mob at the time of filming. Furthermore, an undercover film demonstrates the huge interest paid on the smallest of loans. Cantalupe also recounts times when payments were missed and the consequences, while Vitale reveals his personal experiences which paint a vivid picture of the lengths the mob will go to, in order to recover their money. As Cantalupe continues, the loan sharking opened further opportunities. Often when a debt could not repaid, the mafia gained a foothold in the borrower's business. Cantalupe's father owned a property business and the Colombo family used this as a front but they were most heavily involved in the catering business. Cantalupe explains how such businesses could incorporate other business ventures as off-shoots. But it is not just loan sharking that gets the mafia in to legitimate business - with all their illegal activities, especially pornography and narcotics they have the money to fund their own legal enterprises. As such the mafia has its fingers in so many pies 'it can take care of you from the cradle to the grave'. The programme reveals how the mafia also controls the garbage and the trucking. A legitimate garment manufacturer named Conheim explains how he cannot afford not to use the transportation company and refuse collection agency that have been 'suggested' to him. If he refuses, things go missing, deliveries are late and so forth. The mafia have the reputation and means to scare off competition and their union problems. In Newark, drug dealing is the main industry and the programme follows a bust. Newark law enforcement are drastically under funded and overwhelmed. Paddy Carr of the Newark drug squad claims that twenty five years previously, Newark was thriving with a bright future till the mafia took a hold in alliance with local politicians. Lt Freddie Martens of the New Jersey police explains what happened - the mafia completely controlled both legitimate and illegitimate ventures to the exclusion of all others, the fustration eventually leading to riots in which 26 people were killed. The city has never recovered as Herb Stern, a rackets prosecutor, explains. He ellaborates that one of the findings of the report in to the riots was a feeling of a completely corrupt government of the city, where everything required a kickback. Stern was actually the man who prosecuted the mayor of Newark and we are left with images of a ghost town which is one big no-go area after 5pm.

[edit] The Old Mob and the New

In this final episode, the documentary investigates the presence of the Mob in the illicit drug trade. Since the mid-'80s, drug trafficking has reached epidemic proportions in America. The episode portrays how Mafia cartels in both the United States and Latin America are behind much of the drug scene, with its attendant culture of violence and death. The efforts and efficacy of the American government to stem the tide of illegal drugs are examined. This episode explores how narcotics is now the main source of income for organized crime and the fact that the traditional mafia is no longer the major power. Cubans, the Afro-Americans and the Hispanics are dealing in narcotics with increasingly violent consequences. The first footage shows a typical drug raid, recovering a large haul, but put in the perspective of an annual turnover of $80 billion across the USA for the drugs trade, it is a needle in a haystack. There is no structure with the rival criminals to compete with the mafia organisation in the long term, according to Cantalupe. This is echoed by Lt. Remo Franceschini, in reference to the Columbians. The lack of organisation and connection to the right people leads to more indiscriminate violence. The mafia are so embedded in American society that there is little threat to their survival. Robert Blakey, the Senate Crime advisor, states that, with all the powers available to politicians and law enforcement agencies across the USA from the 1960s to the current day (1983), not one of the 24 mafia families has been destroyed. John Cusack of the Narcotics bureau expands that all mafia activities are still going strong, but the Colombians and Cubans are muscular rivals especially in the distribution of cocaine. Having said that, heroin smuggling and distribution is still a strong mafia racket originating mainly from Palermo and Asia. Footage is shown of a huge mafia run heroin factory in the Sicilian capital. The connection with 'the old country' is still thriving and Reena Raggi, another rackets prosecutor, illustrates the often ingenious way the mafia smuggle heroin in to the US. There follows a brief summary of the figures integral to the rise of the mafia, which is followed by the final thoughts of the mafia informers and detectives who have contributed to the series.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Video Bitrate: 2064 kbps
Video Resolution: 624x464
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.345:1
Frames Per Second: 25.000
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3) AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 50:22.120
Number Of Parts: 7
Part Size: 815 MB
Ripped by: DocFreak08

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