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The Fortune Cookie

The Fortune Cookie(1966)

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Remind Me

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During a Cleveland Browns--Minnesota Vikings football game in Cleveland, CBS-TV cameraman Harry Hinkle is sent sprawling when a 220-pound halfback crashes into him at the sidelines. While Harry is at the hospital for a checkup, he is visited by his brother-in-law, Willie Gingrich, a shyster lawyer who pounces upon the incident as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a million dollars by suing CBS, the Cleveland Browns, and Municipal Stadium. Harry's protests are ignored as the conniving Willie shows the weak-willed Harry how to feign all the symptoms of an injured back. Propped in a wheelchair, simulating partial paralysis and blindness, Harry, under the watchful eye of Willie, deceives a barrage of doctors and insurance investigators. The only joyful note in the masquerade for Harry is the return of his money-hungry ex-wife Sandy, who left him for a second-rate musician. Gradually, however, Harry begins to have conscience trouble as Boom Boom Jackson, the black halfback who bowled him over, becomes so despondent at the thought of having crippled a man that he insists on moving in with Harry and becoming his nurse. Meanwhile, a persistent private eye named Purkey films all of Harry's activities from a room across the street. Eventually Purkey admits to Harry and Willie that he has failed to produce evidence of a hoax and concludes with some racist remarks directed at Boom Boom, thereby provoking Harry to leap in fury from his wheelchair. Though Purkey's coup fails because he has neglected to put film in his hidden camera, Harry, who has become disgusted by Sandy's mercenary behavior, obligingly repeats his actions once the camera has been loaded. Crushed, but not defeated, Willie bellows that he and the N.A.A.C.P. will sue Purkey for his anti-Negro, anti-American remarks.