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The Crooked Web

The Crooked Web(1955)

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Crying Boy

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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Former G.I. Stan Fabian runs a drive-in restaurant with his waitress girl friend, Joanie Daniel, who receives an unexpected visit from her brother Frank. Frank asks Joanie for a loan for a "deal" in Chicago, but she refuses. At dinner that evening, Stan reveals to Frank that he wants to marry Joanie, but she has declined, wary of his lack of financial security. Later, when Stan drives Frank back to his hotel, he inquires about his deal and Frank divulges that years earlier during the war, he and partner Ray Torres hid a sizeable amount of gold, but they have been unable to raise the money necessary to return to Germany to retrieve their treasure. Later that night Frank sneaks into Joanie's room for a talk. Unknown to Stan, the couple are not brother and sister, but police partners who have been involved in a year-long investigation of Stan, whom wealthy businessman Richard Atherton suspects murdered his son in Berlin during the war. The following day, Frank suggests that if Stan lends him the money to get to Germany, he would be willing to cut Stan in on part of the treasure, which would make it possible for him to marry Joanie. Stan accepts, and the trio sets off for Chicago, where Frank meets Torres and informs him of his plan to include Stan on the gold retrieval. When Torres balks, Frank shoots him with blanks and tosses him from the moving car. Stan and Joanie are horrified by the "killing," but concur when Frank suggests that they split up for their journey to New York. Before departing with Joanie, Frank stops to consult with Tom Jackson, an associate of Atherton's, and pays off Torres for playing his role. Frank is then introduced to a group of men, including the chief of Berlin's police, Herr Koenig, who will assist Frank and Joanie abroad. Frank tells the men that ten years earlier, just after the war, Stan was involved in Berlin's black market and, in an attempt to steal Army supplies with Atherton, Jr., became embroiled in a shootout with MPs, one of whom was Frank. When Atherton, Jr. balked at the violence, Stan shot him in the back. By the time Stan was identified, he had already been honorably discharged and therefore cannot be legally pursued in the United States, but must be implicated and arrested on German soil. Frank departs with Joanie to meet Stan in New York and arranges passage for them on board a freighter ship. A few days into the journey, Frank is startled by Don Gillen, a veteran who recognizes him, but who is detained by Atherton's men upon arriving in England. Frank, Stan and Joanie then fly into Frankfurt, where they purchase a car and drive to the private Von Rheimer estate cemetery. There, Frank searches for a specific tombstone, then after digging, unearths a box containing a collection of gold items. Frank removes a candlestick holder, but forces Stan to rebury the box hastily when guards approach. Stan is frustrated by the interruption, but Frank advises caution and they depart. The following day Frank takes Stan to Herr Schmidt, who demonstrates how he will melt the gold into wrenches for transport abroad. The trio spends the afternoon at a beach before Frank leaves on a pretext after being summoned by one of Koenig's men. Koenig informs Frank that in two days the American Air Force will be taking over the territory where the Von Rheimer estate is located and they will no longer be able to continue with their operation. Meanwhile, at the beach, Stan confides in Joanie that he believes Frank intends to take the gold himself. Hoping to circumvent Frank, Stan forces Joanie back to the cemetery that evening, only to be met by Frank, who feigns anger at their betrayal. After the trio is chased away by Koenig's guards, Joanie confesses that it was her idea to go after the gold without Frank. The following morning Stan comes to Frank's room to apologize and finds Frank's police badge. Frank quickly invents a story that Schmidt has made him a phony badge to allow them unhampered access to the cemetery. The following day Frank and Stan drive to the Von Rheimer estate, but to Stan's annoyance, find it blockaded. Frank offers to re-enlist so that he can return to the estate, and although Stan is skeptical, arranges it with his friend, recruiting officer Mike Jancoweizc. Upon medical examination, however, Frank is denied re-enlistment. Frank pleads with Stan to re-enlist in his place, but he refuses. Joanie joins the men and when Stan again refuses to re-enlist, declares their wedding is off. Stan takes Joanie aside and confesses that he is unable to re-enlist because of a murder he committed a decade before. Quickly surrounding Stan, Koenig informs him that his confession has been recorded and arrest him. Later Joanie and Frank celebrate the closing of the case and their own engagement.