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A young lawyer''''s primrose path to success gets him framed for murder.
As he hides from police on a dark New York City street, Steve Kiever recalls how he got to this point: A brilliant but unambitious lawyer, Steve works for a large insurance company. Although he prefers helping people to making money, his beautiful fiancée, Ellen Sayburn, wants the finer things in life, and Steve promises to ask for a raise. His boss, Henry Manston, cannot give him the raise, but assures Steve that he has a bright future. When Manston makes an off-handed comment that he would gladly pay $10,000 to recover some stolen furs rather than pay a much higher claim, Steve gets an idea. With the help of his friend, taxicab driver Harry Dycker, Steve goes to various underworld hangouts, offering $10,000, no questions asked, to recover the furs. He encounters suspicion at first, and is roughed up, but eventually makes contact with mobster nightclub owner Marty Callbert, who arranges the deal. Manston is happy to recover the furs and give Steve a $2,500 reward, but warns him of the potential danger. After Steve's well-executed plan goes through, he goes to Ellen's apartment with an expensive engagement ring, but learns from her neighbor that Ellen has gone to Europe with her new husband. Stunned, Steve returns to Marty's club and gets drunk. Marty suggests that they continue to work together, and soon Steve is so successful at recovering stolen merchandise that he leaves the insurance company and goes out on his own. Although Steve is technically not breaking any laws, Inspector Matt Duggan feels that he is responsible for an increase in robberies of expensive merchandise. Manston has no choice but to accept the recovered items, but increasingly dislikes it. Joan Brenson, a secretary at the insurance company who has always been in love with Steve, is now his girl friend, but worries that he is getting in too deep. One night, when Steve takes Joan to a Broadway opening, she runs into Ellen in the powder room and recognizes her from a picture in Steve's apartment. A moment later, two women draw guns and rob the wealthy occupants of the powder room. Joan tries to stop them, but is knocked out. The thieves are whisked away in a waiting taxi, where they remove their wigs and laugh over how convincing they were as women. Soon the police arrive and question the victims, who describe the thieves as attractive women, and no one suspects that two of gangster Franko's henchmen, Floyd and Roger, are actually the thieves. Duggan holds Steve responsible for the robbery, but Steve is too concerned about Joan and Ellen, whom he has just seen in the lobby, to care. The next day, Steve finds out where Ellen and her husband, Gordon N. Jessman, are staying and goes to her. He is angry, but soon kisses her, and she says that she made a mistake and is going to leave Gordon. Steve then meets Joan for lunch at their favorite café and confirms what she suspected, that he still loves Ellen. When Steve later learns from Manston that the robbery amounted to $860,000, he presses for a higher fee and recovery amount. Manston reluctantly agrees to pay $250,000 for the merchandise and $100,000 to Steve. Steve tries to make a contact, but at the racetrack learns that Duggan is picking up his usual go-betweens, and those who have not been taken in are afraid to deal with him. Meanwhile, Floyd, who is anxious for his cut of the robbery, goes into Harry's cab and threatens him, saying that Steve cannot back out of the deal, which is set for that night. When Harry goes to the café to tell Steve, he only finds Joan, who is drunk, and asks her to deliver the message. She then goes to Steve's apartment and tells him the plan, even though hurt that Ellen is there. Following instructions, Steve heads for Franko's hotel. When he sees a men's ballet class, he guesses that the "women" thieves were really slightly built, graceful men. Steve agrees to the deal, then secretly calls Duggan so that he can arrest the men when the transfer takes place at his apartment at 11:00 pm. Duggan sends Detective Walter O'Bannion to stay with Steve. At 11:00, the jewels are delivered, but a few moments later, the lights go out and shots are fired. Steve finds that O'Bannion has been killed and the jewels are gone. He then sneaks out of his building and Duggan issues an all-points bulletin for his arrest. Steve goes to Franko, who seems genuinely shocked that the jewels were stolen. Suspicious, Franko and some of his thugs start to take Steve out of the hotel, but Steve escapes among some drunken conventioneers. He then goes to Harry's apartment. Although at first suspicious that Harry had double-crossed him, Steve soon realizes that Harry is a true friend. Steve then goes to see Joan and says goodbye. Meanwhile, Ellen and Gordon are hurriedly packing when Floyd and Roger show up and take them at gunpoint. Steve observes them driving away and secretly follows them to Franko's, where Franko demands that Ellen and Gordon give him the jewels. As Steve tries to call Duggan at a payphone in the lobby, Floyd sees him and quickly hangs up the phone. In the boiler room, when Ellen and Gordon refuse to cooperate, Floyd's thugs badly beat Ellen and shoot her and Gordon. When Floyd arrives with Steve, they take him out through the hotel's pool area. Steve makes a move for Franko and the two men tumble into the pool. Franko, who routinely practices underwater endurance, is able to free himself after Steve drowns. As Franko rises to the surface, though, he and his cohorts are captured by Duggan and his men. They quickly get Steve out of the pool and are able revive him. Later, as Steve is about to be placed in an ambulance, he is comforted by Joan. Although Duggan says Steve is still in trouble, he lets Joan go to the hospital with him.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1951||Production Date:||
UCLA VHS tape from Turner Coll.
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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kevin sellers 2018-04-01
Fairly good noir. Sidney Sheldon's screenplay is entertaining, indeed maybe too much so for a genre where diversion and disturbance must be in artful...
Movie made sense until Kiever picked up the gun. His fingerprints weren't on it. He was in the clear from the cops. A lawyer should know that.
May I ask a question?
This movie is a real gem, why have we never seen it before? Thank you Eddie Mueller for sharing this with us.The writing is superb, providing tasty little...