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A racketeer saves his daughter's no-good husband from the chair but lives to regret it.
One night in New York City, hoodlums working for syndicate boss Phil Regal murder a loan shark, but witnesses appear before they finish setting the body on fire, and police are able to identify the corpse. The next day, Phil sends the men out of town, then is questioned by New York Chronicle reporter Joe McFarland. Joe asks Phil about the district attorney's statement that Phil is the "enforcer" for the Brooklyn syndicate, and that witnesses in cases against him have a mysterious habit of changing their stories. Phil, who likes the forthright Joe, tells him that he runs a legitimate personal loan business, then returns to his old Brooklyn home to have Sunday dinner with his mother, Mrs. Regalzyk, and sister Rosalie. On his way to the apartment, Phil is greeted by neighbor Louie, who mentions having seen Rosalie at the doctor's office. During dinner, Phil asks about the doctor, and Mrs. Regalzyk, recognizing the name as an obstetrician, realizes that Rosalie is pregnant. A furious Phil yells at Rosalie for getting herself "jammed up" despite his attempts to put her through college and provide her with a better life. Phil is even more upset to learn that Rosalie's lover is Nicky Bradna, a womanizing "punk" who is on death row for the murder of store owner I. Barricks. Even though Nicky is scheduled to die in ten days, Phil is determined to obtain his release so that he can marry Rosalie. With the help of lawyer Michael X. Flanders, Phil presses for a new trial by intimidating the eye-witnesses, Antonio Cardini and Mr. Hough, into recanting their testimony that Nicky is the killer. Assistant District Attorney Blaker declines to file for a new trial, however, as he realizes that with the perjured testimony of Cardini and Hough, Nicky will go free. Blaker warns Phil that he will get Nicky eventually, but Phil dismisses him and plans Nicky and Rosalie's wedding. Phil snarls at the grateful Nicky that the only reason he helped him was because Rosalie loves him, and that his duty now is to make Rosalie happy. Convinced by Phil that Nicky was innocent, Rosalie enjoys the wedding. During the reception, Phil overhears Nicky tell a friend that Phil will get him a job in his organization, and Phil tells Nicky that he is going to be an honest truck driver instead. A few weeks later, another murdered man is found and the killing is linked to Phil, although no charges can be substantiated. Because of the case, Joe is assigned to do a story investigating the unsolved gang-related murders in New York. Joe approaches Phil for a quote, and Phil decides to give him a different "angle" by inviting him to Sunday dinner. At the Regalzyks' apartment, Phil talks about how difficult it was to escape the lower-class neighborhood, and is surprised to learn that Joe went to high school with Rosalie, on whom he had a crush. When Nicky arrives, he caustically comments on the spies Phil has watching him at work. After Phil leaves, Nicky tells Rosalie that he is fed up with Phil's nagging, but she urges him to be patient. Nicky and Rosalie live happily for a while, but when their baby dies at birth, the grief-stricken couple drift apart. Determined to escape Phil, Nicky arranges the hijacking of the trucks he drives, and splits the money with his pals. Nicky also begins an affair with a barmaid, Margie, and keeps several expensive suits in their apartment. Later, Blaker asks Joe to run a tough exposé of Phil in the hope that some of his confederates, scared of exposure, will seek protection in exchange for testifying against Phil. Before it is published, Joe shows the story to Rosalie, but she refuses to believe that her brother is guilty. Joe warns Rosalie that she has to accept the truth, but she ignores him. Soon after, Phil visits Rosalie, who confesses that Nicky is rarely home, but begs him to give Nicky another chance. One night, Phil runs into Nicky and Margie, however, and the next day, after seeing Rosalie with bruises on her face, decides to get rid of Nicky. Phil orders Nicky's best friend, Latzi Franks, to help him frame Nicky for murder, then arranges for Nicky to sit in a poker game in which jewelry fence Harry Goldische will be playing. Latzi keeps Nicky at the game for two hours after Harry leaves, during which Harry is killed and evidence framing Nicky is planted in Margie's apartment. Nicky is arrested and convicted of murdering Harry, and is again sent to Sing Sing's death row. Three days before he is to die, Nicky sends telegrams to both Joe and Phil, asking them to visit. When Phil arrives, Nicky threatens to tell Joe that Phil intimidated the witnesses in the Barricks case unless Phil obtains his release. Phil refuses, and so Nicky tells Joe the story, which is printed the next morning. Phil orders his henchmen to attack Joe, but despite the beating, Joe writes another story accusing Phil of framing Nicky. Despite Joe's efforts to help him, Nicky is executed, and Joe takes a tape recording he secretly made of Nicky to Latzi, who is shaken by Nicky's statement that he does not hold a grudge against his friend. Deciding to confess, Latzi arranges to meet Joe the next day, but is gunned down by Phil's men. Latzi survives, however, and in the hospital, gives the D.A. enough evidence to order Phil's arrest. Joe rushes to Mrs. Regalzyk's apartment to warn Rosalie, but she declares that she cannot turn her back on her brother. While Joe is out, alerting the police that Phil will come to the apartment, Phil arrives and is confronted by Rosalie. Rosalie accuses Phil of allowing her to marry a murderer and of ruining her life, because as the sister of a gangster, she was never able to meet a decent man and lead a productive life. Phil is devastated by Rosalie's accusations, but their argument is interrupted by Joe, who announces that the police are coming. Rosalie stops Phil from shooting Joe, after which Phil runs to the roof to elude his pursuers. When Phil attempts to jump to the next building, as he did when he was a young boy, he slips and falls to his death. While Joe comforts Rosalie, Mrs. Regalzyk, unaware of what has occurred, passes by the crowd that gathered around her son's body.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1955||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||United Artists Corp.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Fame Pictures, Inc.|
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