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The Chicago Kid

The Chicago Kid(1945)

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Hardworking accountant Joe Ferrill scrimps and saves to buy a house for his father, F. J. O'Donnell, who is due to be released from prison after serving a fifteen-year sentence for embezzlement. Joe, who has always believed in his father's innocence, borrows a small sum from racketeer Mike Thurber but refuses to comply when Thurber asks him for information about the government-frozen commodities stored at the warehouse at which he works. Joe's dreams of a happy Christmas are shattered when his father dies just before his release. The embittered Joe then vows to take revenge on John W. Mitchell, the head of the firm from which his father allegedly embezzled thirty thousand dollars, and whose testimony convicted O'Donnell. A few months later, Joe contrives to run out of gas near the mountain lodge at which Mitchell is vacationing with his daughter Chris and son Bill. The convivial Mitchells invite Joe to stay with them, and Joe ingratiates himself with them by secretly sabotaging Chris's motorboat and then rescuing her. Mitchell offers Joe a job in his auditing firm, and Joe contacts Thurber with a plan to steal frozen commodities from the many warehouses overseen by Mitchell's firm, and then sell them on the black market. As the robberies begin, Joe spends time romancing Chris, who falls in love with him. His place in the family solidified, Joe is preparing Mitchell's income tax when he comes across some unexplained checks. Mitchell reveals that a former employee named O'Donnell embezzled a large sum of money, for which he was sent to prison, and also killed a policeman, although Mitchell prevented discovery of that crime to protect O'Donnell's family. Over the years, Mitchell has been sending money to the widow of the slain policeman. Joe is heartbroken to learn of his father's guilt but determines to rectify the crimes that he himself has committed against Mitchell. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Thurber sends two of his henchmen, Pinky and Squeak, to kill Mitchell in the belief that it will please Joe. Ashamed to face Chris and Bill, Joe abruptly quits his job and, agreeing with Thurber that it is too late to go straight, takes over Thurber's gang and becomes a full-time racketeer. As a year passes, government investigators try to catch Joe and send one of their men to infiltrate the gang. After the agent is killed, police chief Rogers asks Bill and Chris for help. Although the Mitchells refuse to believe that Joe could be guilty, Bill agrees to help in order to prove Joe's innocence. Bill asks Joe for a job, which Joe gives him despite Thurber's objections. Determined to prove that Bill is an informant, Pinky and Squeak set him up and are about to kill him when Joe appears. Joe succeeds in rescuing Bill, although the young man is injured. Rogers then plants a story that Joe is about to turn state's evidence, and in order to keep him safe from Thurber's wrath, Chris and Bill take Joe to the mountain lodge to hide. Thurber and Pinky follow the trio, however, and during the ensuing shootout, Joe is fatally wounded while protecting Chris and Bill. As he is dying, Joe confesses all to his friends, who readily offer their forgiveness.