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The Big Shakedown

The Big Shakedown(1934)

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New Yorkers Norma Nelson and Jimmy Morrell plan to get married just as soon as their neighborhood drugstore starts to make money. The opportunity presents itself one day when former bootlegger Dutch Barnes stops in for a headache powder. Jimmy is out of the brand Dutch requests, but offers to make up one just like it. On learning that Jimmy can make up duplicates of everything in the store for less money, Dutch offers Jimmy a job manufacturing counterfeit toothpaste. Although he doesn't like the idea, Jimmy decides there is no real harm in it and agrees. Dutch branches out into cosmetics and once again Jimmy participates despite Norma's disapproval. Jimmy balks, however, when Dutch asks him to make a popular antiseptic, explaining that he is unable to get the essential ingredient. Dutch offers him a bonus, which enables Jimmy to marry Norma, and he reluctantly agrees. Meanwhile, Dutch's former girl friend, Lily Duran, jealous over his attentions to another woman, gives evidence against him, and the antiseptic company prosecutes. Sheffner, the chemist who invented the formula, makes a personal visit to Jimmy to warn him, and Jimmy agrees to sever his association with Dutch. To prevent this, Dutch makes sure that Jimmy is involved in Lily's murder. Now that there is no witness, the company is forced to drop their lawsuit. With this new hold on Jimmy, Dutch forces him to make fake digitalis. Norma is given some during childbirth and loses her baby. Vengefully, Jimmy goes after Dutch, but Sheffner gets there before him. He shoots Dutch, who falls into a vat of hydrochloric acid. Jimmy tells everything to the district attorney. Dutch's men go to prison, Jimmy is exonerated, and he and Norma go back to running a simple neighborhood drug store.