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Famous Cleveland Lawman Eliot Ness Getting New Film & Theater Treatments

Robert Stack played Eliot Ness in the 1960s-era TV version of The Untouchables [photo / ABC Television]

One of Northeast Ohio's most famous murder cases is due to get both a theatrical and a big screen treatment, within the next year. Both of these proposed productions will focus on the tribulations of one of Cleveland's most famous law men.

Many movie viewers were introduced to him in the 1987 film, "The Untouchables."  Eliot Ness's exploits as a crime-busting federal agent in Prohibition-Era Chicago were also told on TV in 1959.  But two new productions are due to tell the story of Ness's days as Cleveland's Safety Director in the 1930s.  And both center on the former Untouchable's frustrations in trying to solve a string of serial killings, popularly known as the Torso Murders.   Shadow of the Run is scheduled for the 2017-2018 season, and will feature a live, immersive production that puts the audience up-close to actors playing Ness and his colleagues.  

And this past week, plans were announced for a movie version of  Torso a 1998 graphic novel by Cleveland-bred artist Brian Michael Bendis.  The film industry blog Deadline Hollywood reports that producers are looking to start production in the fall. 

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.