The Black Hand: Upcoming movie on the deadliest secret society in American History

the black hand mafia movie
DiCaprio will play Detective Joseph Petrosino (Right) in ‘The Black Hand’.

The Black Hand 2018 Movie

Leonardo DiCaprio will star in and produce an adaptation of Stephan Talty’s book “The Black Hand” for Paramount Pictures.

Set in the early 1900s, the story will follow Joe Petrosino — an NYPD cop who squared off against “The Black Hand”, the deadliest secret society in American history.

“The Black Hand” migrated from Southern Italy to America, and kidnapped people to extort money from their families.

Their victims – mostly wealthy Italians – were sent ransom and extortion letters which were often “signed” with an etching of, that’s right, a black hand, and murder was a frequent occurrence.

An immigrant from the Campania region in Southern Italy, Petrosino put together a team of all-Italian policemen with a drive to rid their communities of this scourge from the old country.

Ultimately, he was shot dead by the mafia in 1909 whilst seeking information about them in Palermo, where a memorial for him was put up in the Piazza Marina.

The New York Times have referred to him as ‘The only New York City police officer ever killed in the line of duty on foreign soil.’

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The Black Hand hovered like a dark and threatening cloud over the daily life of thousands of Italians in New York. Photo: Shutterstock

Variety is reporting that DiCaprio will play Detective Petrosino and he will also produce the pic through Appian Way Productions, the company he established in 2004 and which has gone on to be nominated for over 20 Academy Awards (it’s won a fair few of them as well.)

Here’s the synopsis for the The Black Hand:

Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear.

The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped, and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down.

Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths.

The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand.

The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point.

Standing between the American public and the Black Hand’s lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino.

Dubbed the “Italian Sherlock Holmes,” he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective, and a master of disguise.

As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand’s activities spread far beyond New York’s borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe.

Petrosino’s quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily—but at a terrible cost.

  • The movie is expected to be released in the second half of 2018.