Gang War

16mm motion picture film of Gang War

Directed by
Popkin, Leo C., Canadian, 1914 - 2011
Subject of
Cooper, Ralph, American, 1908 - 1992
Produced by
Popkin, Harry M., American, 1906 - 1991
16mm Film (a): acetate film;
16mm Film (b): acetate film
Duration: 60 Minutes
Length (Film Reel 1): 1100 Feet
Length (Film Reel 2): 1250 Feet
motion pictures (information artifacts)
Place depicted
Harlem, New York City, New York County, New York, United States, North and Central America
Place filmed
United States, North and Central America
Two Harlem gangs fight for control of the jukebox racket.
2015.167.8.1ab: 16mm black and white films.
A fight in a diner over the claims of conflicting gangster factions reveals Bob "Killer" Meade as a rising lawbreaker in Harlem. A member of Bull Brown's gang, Bob soon takes over and orders Bull to be "given some air." Bob is indicted for his crimes, but witnesses are afraid to talk and he is found not guilty. At the courthouse, he meets Mazie "Sugar" Walford, who believes him innocent. Although Mazie is engaged to George Stevens, a member of a prominent local family, Bob falls in love and begins to court her, promising to lay Harlem at her feet. Bob decides to cut in on the juke box action of rival Harlem boss, Lew Baron, who sends several killers for him. However, Bob outsmarts them and demands half of Lew's take. In the ensuing gangland war, Bob and his men defeat Lew, taking over his machines. Lieutenant Holmes, a policeman who knew Bob as a boy, warns him about where his methods will lead. Lew calls to make a deal with Bob and learns that Bob and his men are celebrating the opening of Mazie's new show at a nightclub. During an African number, Lew's gang enters the club, and Bob and his company leave, prompting an automobile chase. Later, Bill, Lew's henchmen, goes to Mazie and forces her to sing her new song, "Remember the Moon," to Bob over the telephone. After the connection is broken, Bob finds the body of his old friend, Slicum, at his door with a note from Lew. With his other henchmen, Phil and Danny, Bob goes after Lew, catching and shooting him and his men as they are about to leave town. Mazie, who has warned Bob, tells Holmes of his actions, and the police surround Lew's hideout. Bob escapes to Mazie's but realizes it is too late to hide when Holmes comes to the door. Nonetheless, Bob makes a mad dash over the rooftops as the police pursue and finally shoot him, his corpse falling at the feet of Mazie and Holmes.
AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Accessed on August 10, 2016 (
WorldCat. Accessed August 10, 2016 (
African American
Race films
Urban life
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Randall and Sam Nieman
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
Unknown - Restrictions Possible
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title
Nieman Film Collection
Media Arts-Film and Video
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

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