The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond is a 1960 film directed by Budd Boetticher. The picture marked the film debut of Dyan Cannon and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Howard Shoup.


In the 1920s, ambitious but smalltime thief Jack Diamond and his sickly brother Eddie Diamond move to New York City. Jack meets dance instructor Alice Shiffer, lies to her to date her and to steal a necklace from a jewelry store. After being incarcerated for a time, he works with Alice at her dance school while on probation.

He then gets hired as bodyguard of infamous Arnold Rothstein who gives him the nickname Legs. His plan is to supplant Rothstein with the intention of stealing his bootleg, drugs and gambling businesses. After Arnold is murdered, Legs Diamond sells protection. When he travels to Europe with Alice on a vacation, he sees in the newspaper that the New York underworld has changed with the National Prohibition Act.. Legs returns to America and confronts the syndicate, demanding a cut from their operations. He kicks Alice out of his life and turns to Monica, who betrays him. Hit men enter his hotel room and shoot him dead. In the final scene, as his corpse is being removed on a stretcher, Alice says he was loved by many but that he loved nobody.


Frank de Kova's role is only listed as "The Chairman" of the new crime syndicate. He was portraying Lucky Luciano, but as Luciano was still alive at the time, it was decided not to name him specifically.

The lead role was first offered to Robert Evans. When he turned it down Warner Bros. Television contract star Ray Danton took the lead. Evans also had turned down the lead for The George Raft Story that Danton also played.[1]

Danton reprised his role as Legs Diamond in Portrait of a Mobster (1961).


From Howard Thompson of The New York Times:

After he saw the film, guitarist Hank Marvin was inspired to give the name of the film to his The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt.[3]

In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Gangster Films list.[4]

Musical remake

The film was remade as a musical entitled Legs Diamond which debuted on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on December 26, 1988, and closed on February 19, 1989 after 64 performances and 72 previews.[5]

See also


  1. ^ P. 81 Evans, Robert The Kid Stays in the Picture Phoenix Books, Inc., 1 Jan 2006
  2. ^ Howard Thompson. (1960-02-04). "Movie Review - The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery - Story of Legs Diamond Opens on Double Bill - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  3. ^ p. 290 Read, Mike Major to Minor: The Rise and Fall of the Songwriter Sanctuary, 2000
  4. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  5. ^ The Broadway League. "Legs Diamond IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 

External links