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The Big Boodle

The Big Boodle(1957)

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After Ned Sherwood, a blackjack dealer in a Havana casino, is passed some counterfeit peso bills, he challenges the woman who presented them, as under the casino's rules, a dealer is responsible for any phony currency he unwittingly accepts. The woman denies knowing that the bills were counterfeit, refuses to change them for others and leaves. That night, on his way home, two thugs attack Ned but run off when the police are summoned. Guillermo Mastegui, Chief of the Secret Section of the Cuban National Police, interrogates Ned about the attack and, because he still has some of the counterfeit bills, accuses him of being involved in a plan to flood Cuba with worthless currency. Mastegui refrains from arresting Ned, however, as he and a U.S. Treasury agent plan to have him followed in the hope that he will lead them to the head counterfeiter. Now jobless and forbidden to leave Cuba, Ned takes measures to clear his name. Ned meets with a young woman, Anita Ferrer, who believes that he has the bills, as well as the engraving plates they were made from, and offers to buy them. After a totally bewildered Ned denies any knowledge of the bills and plates, Anita takes him to meet her father, who is president of the Bank of Cuba. SeƱor Ferrer explains to Ned that Mastegui suspects that three million counterfeit pesos, manufactured in Chicago, are about to be laundered through the bank. Because this act would destroy confidence in the bank and in the government, Ferrer is anxious to discover who is behind the plot. Ned tells Ferrer that he knows nothing about the matter and is about to leave when Ferrer's other daughter, Josefina, returns home and Ned recognizes her as the woman who passed him the notes in the casino, but says nothing. When "Fina" agrees to a meeting with Ned, she again denies any involvement in the counterfeiting, but offers to be seen with him in the hope of having the ringleaders show their hand. After visiting several nightclubs, Fina admits that she took the counterfeit money from the pocket of Carlos Rubi, her sister's boyfriend. Upon leaving a club, Ned and Fina are kidnapped by Miguel Collada, a trusted banking aide of her father, and his henchman Chuchu. Collada reveals that he is behind the scheme to substitute the counterfeit bills, which have now been chemically aged, for bundles of old, withdrawn bills that are to be burned under his supervision. He will then keep the genuine, old currency, but fears that his associate, Rubi, may have stolen the plates, which could connect him to the swindle. To help Ned, with whom she is falling in love, Fina suggests to Collada that Rubi may have hidden the plates in El Morro Castle where Rubi, she and Anita used to play as children. Meanwhile, Anita meets with Rubi to try to extricate themselves from Collada's scheme in which they became involved in order to pay off substantial debts. After Collada and Fina depart for El Morro, leaving Chuchu to guard Ned, Rubi comes to the house intending to kill Collada, but is shot and killed by Chuchu. Ned escapes, alerts Mastegui, then goes with Anita to El Morro. When they catch up with Collada and Fina, Collada uses Fina as a shield during a gunfight. Anita tries to bargain with him, but is killed by Collada. Ned jumps on Collada and they fight on the castle's parapet until Collada falls, with the plates, into the sea and is eaten by sharks. To protect Ferrer from the knowledge of Anita's wrongdoing, Mastegui declares that she has died a hero and considers the case closed. Ned and Fina walk off together.