MGM was not known for its hard–hitting crime films though in reality they had their share, “Johnny Eager” and “The Beast of the City” to name a couple. In 1954, MGM released “Rogue Cop”, a crooked cop saga that can hold its own against other 1950’s crime films like “The Big Combo” and “Kansas City Confidential.” The film stars former matinee idol Robert Taylor, along with Janet Leigh, George Raft and Anne Francis. For Taylor, the role of a crooked cop may be viewed as a stretch though he did play a gangster years earlier in “Johnny Eager.” For George Raft, it was a comeback of sorts, a return to the gangster role that he avoided for more than 15 years. The two leading ladies are both gorgeous and hold their own especially the under appreciated Anne Francis who plays Raft’s alcoholic girlfriend. Her performance is really the standout in the film. The screenplay is by Sidney Boehmn, who wrote such other gripping crime films like “The Big Heat” and “Violent Saturday.” Boehmn’s screenplay was adapted from a novel by William McGivern. McGivern novels were also the source for many crime genre films among them “The Big Heat”, “Odds Against Tomorrow” and “Hell on Frisco Bay.” Cinematographer John F. Seitz received an Oscar nomination for his excellent black and white cinematography.
While not perfect, “Rogue Cop” is a gritty tough film with Taylor providing a better than usual performance as the corrupt flawed detective Christopher Kelvaney, and George Raft is always at his best when he portrays a criminal. The acting highlight, as mentioned, really belongs though to Anne Francis who is the pathetic victim of Raft’s low-key but sadistic hood with little so regard, after she misguidedly laughs at him after being beaten up by Kelvaney, sends her over to some “friends” to have their ways with her. While you never see on screen what happens, the next time you see Francis you can just read her face and easily assume the horror she went through at the hands of her former lover’s “friends. “Rogue Cop” is a decent entertaining film noir that will not disappoint you.