When Stanley Kubrick met the mob

These photos are of the Copacabana (yes, the nightclub from the Barry Manilow song). One of the main characters in The Mobster’s Lament is the manager of the Copacabana (who was also a mob fixer). The Copa was New York’s premiere nightspot, and it was secretly owned by the mobster Frank Costello. It was where the world’s biggest celebrities rubbed shoulders with the country’s biggest crooks. At the time there was a young photographer at ‘Look’ magazine called Stanley Kubrick who was sent to take some photos of ‘The Hottest Club North of Havana’, these are some of those photos. I added a few relevant quotes I stumbled across in my research.

And below is the man himself, the club’s owner, and the boss of all bosses. Frank Costello is one of the characters in ‘The Mobster’s Lament’. One of the inspirations for the Godfather, Costello led the American mob to their height. He didn’t carry a gun, never employed bodyguards, didn’t even own a car. When he wanted to go somewhere, he caught a cab, like any other New Yorker. He was probably the most successful mob boss in history, and he never even wanted the job.

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