Olive Films releases the 1959 hardboiled crime drama, The Big Operator, on Blu-Ray™ and DVD September 16th. Directed by Charles Haas (Tarzan and the Trappers, Girls Town), this is a gritty big city story featuring Mickey Rooney (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, National Velvet) as the curliest and most crooked union boss this side of Johnny Friendly from On the Waterfront. It’s all big, bold and brashB-movie fun, with just a touch of film noir edge, and a celebrity-filled cast that can only be described as eclectic.
In a dark departure from his musical comedy roles, and his well-scrubbed Andy Hardy films, Mickey Rooney stars in The Big Operator as Little Joe Braun, a shady labor union boss who uses strong-arm tactics to evade a federal corruption probe. Two honest factory-workers—Steve Cochran (Private Hell 36) and velvet-voiced Mel Tormé (“Night Court”) find themselves caught in the gang lord’s struggle for power, but come to realize they have the power to end Little Joe’s reign of terror…if they can survive Little Joe’s attempts to silence them.
Produced by Albert Zugsmith (Touch of Evil, High, School Confidential!), the king of the tawdry and trashy B-picture, The Big Operator is a sublime specimen of Cold War-era noir, highlighted by the special appearances by cool pop culture icons including Mamie Van Doren (High School Confidential!), Vampira (Plan 9 From Outer Space), Jim Backus (“Gilligan’s Island”), and Jackie Coogan (“The Addams Family”).
Mickey Rooney was looking to change his image and mature into more serious roles at this time, and in The Big Operator, he makes a break from his lovable all-American boy with a vengeance. This is truly a bare-knuckled tale of power, corruption and lies that starts on the mean streets and flows into the gutter, with a tough operator who calls all the shots and plays it real big…that is, until he’s cut down to size.
About Olive Films
Olive Films was founded in 2003 by Farhad Arshad as a boutique theatrical and distribution label. Currently located in Chicago, Illinois, its catalog boasts over 500 titles cultivated from the libraries of Paramount, Republic, Warner and HBO and includes such Hollywood classics as the Oscar® winners High Noon starring Gary Cooper and John Ford’s The Quiet Man starring John Wayne, the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring Kevin McCarthy, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 starring Robert DeNiro, the John Wayne classics Rio Grande, McLintock! and Sands of Iwo Jima, along with such contemporary classics as Stephen King’s Cujo, the Wachowski’s Bound, The Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ironweed starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.