Love That Brute

Love That Brute is a 1950 comedy-crime film directed by Alexander Hall. The film is a remake of Tall, Dark and Handsome, a 1941 film also distributed by 20th Century Fox.[1]

Love That Brute
Love That Brute poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byAlexander Hall
Produced byFred Kohlmar
Written byKarl Tunberg
Darrell Ware
John Lee Mahin
StarringPaul Douglas
Jean Peters
Cesar Romero
Keenan Wynn
Joan Davis
Music byCyril J. Mockridge
CinematographyLloyd Ahern
Edited byNick DeMaggio
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 6, 1950 (1950-06-06)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States


In 1928 Chicago, two gangsters kill a store owner. Mobster Big Ed (Paul Douglas) sends top henchman Bugsy Welch (Keenan Wynn) to place a white carnation—his trademark—on the corpses, to suggest that he is responsible. The police rush to arrest Big Ed, only to find out that he has an alibi. He has been in the park, where Big Ed encounters Ruth Manning (Jean Peters), a country girl who came to Chicago to be a singer, but is now a children's governess.

Big Ed falls in love with the woman—in his opinion, she has class—and is determined to court her. He poses as a widowed father and asks her to take care of his child, with the promise of tripling her salary. When she accepts, he sends Bugsy to audition a son for him. Bugsy comes up with Harry the Kid Jr. (Peter Price), the foul-mouthed son of a gangster. Ruth grows close to Big Ed, but is offended when he gives her an expensive fur coat on Christmas Eve, thinking that he wants to "buy" her affection. She packs her bags to leave, but Big Ed convinces her to stay until they find Harry a school.

The next day, the mansion is surrounded by the men of Pretty Willie Wetzchahofsky (Cesar Romero), Big Ed's arch-rival. Ruth wants to warn the police, but is discouraged to do so by a friend of Big Ed's who is posing as a maid, Mamie Sage (Joan Davis), who then reveals to her who Big Ed really is. Ruth is appalled, but decides to stay until Harry is enrolled at a military academy. Meanwhile, Big Ed has come to a truce with Pretty Willie, and they agree to not interfere with each other's mob activities.

Months later, Ruth is a singer in Big Ed's former night club. Big Ed attends her opening night and wants to reconcile, but Pretty Willie, who is also interested in Ruth, convinces her that Big Ed is a ruthless killer. She finds out that Harry has been missing from military school. After finding him, she learns through Bugsy that Big Ed has never hurt anyone in his life, and that all his alleged victims, including Mamie's husband, are living in his basement.

These prisoners escape and show up at a party. Pretty Willie is disappointed that Big Ed is not the tough guy he thought he was. He orders his men to kill Big Ed. They, however, appreciate Big Ed's kindness and help him escape while faking his death. Bugsy identifies a body as Big Ed, and during "his" funeral, Ed shows up and surprises Ruth. She admits that she was crushed to think that he was dead, and they kiss. Big Ed has Pretty Willie arrested. He then joins Ruth, Harry and Bugsy on a ship, where they will be married.



Co-star Cesar Romero also starred in the original film, Tall, Dark and Handsome. In the original film, he portrayed the kind gangster, whereas in this remake, he was seen as the villain.[1] Studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck initially suggested actor Richard Basehart for this villain role, before Romero took over.[2] The lead role went to Paul Douglas in April 1949.[3] Leading lady Jean Peters was cast in June 1949. For her night club scene, she had to wear a dress that unabled her to sit.[4] To prepare for the singing and dancing scene, Peters took a few lessons with Betty Grable's dance instructor.[5]

Shooting took place in the summer of 1949, under the working title Turned Up Toes.[2]


The entertainment magazine Variety named Paul Douglas' character auditioning a son one of the film's "high spots" and in addition wrote that his "fine performance is matched by Peters, who registers impressively as a prim governess and a sultry nitery singer, scoring with Rodgers and Hart oldie, 'You Took Advantage of Me'."[6]

A radio adaptation was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on October 9, 1950, with Douglas and Peters reprising their roles.[2]


  1. ^ a b Hal Erickson (2012). "Review Summary". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  2. ^ a b c "Notes for Love That Brute (1950)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  3. ^ "'Turned Up Toes' New Vehicle for Douglas" by Hedda Hopper, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1949. p. A6
  4. ^ Long Beach Press-Telegram - April 9, 1950, Long Beach, California. p.7
  5. ^ Post-Standard - April 9, 1950, Syracuse, New York. p.63
  6. ^ "Love That Brute Review". Variety. December 31, 1949. Retrieved 2010-08-22.

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