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Day of Reckoning

Day of Reckoning(1933)

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Because he is unable to say no to his loving but extravagant wife Dorothy, John Day, an employee of a building and loan company, has fallen into deep debt. Consequently, while celebrating his birthday with friends, John is arrested for embezzlement and is taken to the county jail. After her request for a bail loan is turned down by a number of her friends, Dorothy seeks help from George Hollins, a prosperous businessman. Hollins, who has long lusted after Dorothy, agrees to help John by paying for his legal services, but quietly orders the lawyer to try the case in a manner that will assure John a jail sentence. After John is sentenced to a two-year jail term, Dorothy vows to visit him every day and is, at first, faithful to her pledge. Eventually, however, Dorothy's financial situation becomes desperate, and she returns to Hollins for help in finding a job. Although Dorothy has no clerical skills, Hollins insists that she take a job in his office, an offer that evokes the jealousy of his former lover, Kate Lovett, the head of his secretarial pool. As Dorothy increasingly is distracted by the amorous attentions of Hollins, her visits to John decrease. Only Mamie, the Days's devoted maid, maintains her loyalty to John and tries in vain to keep Dorothy "honest." While Dorothy dates Hollins, Mamie arranges for John to view his two young children from his jail cell window. Thrilled by the sight of his children, John makes excuses for Dorothy's absence and maintains to Hart, his fellow convict, his wife's unflagging fidelity. Kate, however, is less sure of Dorothy and finally accuses Hollins of shameless adultery. After Hollins angrily fires her, Kate swears revenge and storms from the office in a fury. That night, Kate sneaks into Hollins' apartment and overhears Dorothy and he pledging their mutual love. Incensed with jealousy, Kate confronts the couple at gunpoint and coldly shoots and kills her rival. Hollins assumes the blame for the killing and ends up in the same jail as John. When John's convict friend Harry, who, like John, has read about Dorothy's murder in the newspapers, realizes that Hollins has been assigned to his cell, he beats him unconscious. To be near Hollins, who has been transferred to the jail hospital and has been warned by Hart not to squeal on Harry, John feigns illness. On the hospital's rooftop, John sneaks up to an unsuspecting Hollins and begins to fight him. During the melee, Hart comes on the rooftop and, seeing John in mortal danger, pushes Hollins over the edge. Hart assumes responsibility for Hollins' death, and John eventually is released. After John is happily reunited with his children and Mamie in the country, Mamie accepts the proposal of Jerry, a milkman who has longed loved her.