The Untouchables

Season 1 Episode 14

The Noise Of Death

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Jan 14, 1960 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Noise Of Death

Omertà, the Mafia code of silence. Eliot Ness runs up against it over and over again as he tries to put the finger on mob leader Joe Bucco.

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  • 50-something gangster Joe Bucco refuses to yield (as his Mafia chieftains would like him to do) to his young protegee', Little Charlie Sabastino, and retire, so the Mafia has him done away with; even as he lies dying, Bucco adheres to the code of silence.moreless

    I guess that I have a soft spot for gangsters who lived to reach their 50's, because I liked Joe Bucco (Ness seemed to also). Bucco seemed to have a father/son relationship with the punch-drunk Abe, who was as loyal as a German shepherd. Still, he went out fighting--died as he lived. Maybe it's my imagination, but I swear the interaction between Bucco and his wife bear an a close resemblence to Don Corleone and wife, though I can't picture Don Vito with a blonde 30 years his junior. One of the best parts about this episode is that if you continue watching the series, you know that Little Charlie gets his just desserts in "The Mark of Cain". Look closely and you will catch a young "Elly-May" in the dinner/nightclub scene.moreless
  • The Mafia

    As stated in the comments above Noise of Death was originally scheduled to be the third episode of the series to air but its airdate was postponed until later in the season. It also marks the only time the word "Mafia" was used on the series and one of the few episodes where Eliot Ness does not succeed at the end.

    Good performances by J. Carroll Naish as an aging Mafia don, Henry Silva as his greedy underling, and Mike Kellin as a punch drunk ex-prizefifghter are the highlights of this one. Silva's character, Little Charlie Sebastino, would return in Season Two's Mark of Cain.moreless
J. Carrol Naish

J. Carrol Naish

Giuseppe "Joe" Bucco

Guest Star

Henry Silva

Henry Silva

"Little" Charlie Sebastino

Guest Star

Norma Crane

Norma Crane

Barbara Vittorini

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (7)

  • NOTES (2)

    • The Noise of Death was originally planned as the 3rd episode of Season 1. However, the ABC network was asked by the United States Attorney's office in New York not to broadcast this episode until after the trial of the gangland leaders who had been nabbed at Appalachian, New York. Actor J. Carrol Naish was featured as the fading Mafia leader, and the Government felt the showing of this episode at that time (October 29, 1959) might conceivably influence the jury. The Noise of Death was finally aired on January 14, 1960, when the Appalachian trial had ended.

    • Robert Stack, in his autobiography Straight Shooting wrote:

      "The subject of organized crime was regarded as a highly sensitive topic in those days. One of my favorite scripts was Ben Maddow's brilliant work, The Noise of Death. J. Carrol Naish played the old don in this episode about omerta, the Mafia's law of silence. The Godfather has more recently explored many of the complex relationships in the underworld. But in the late fifties, it wasn't a popular subject. The FBI denied that the Mafia even existed. This was before the Appalachian meeting and so, despite the high quality of the episode, The Noise of Death was never rerun.


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