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A Dangerous Profession

A Dangerous Profession(1949)

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When Los Angeles bail bondsmen Vince Kane is taken by his friend, police detective Nick Ferrone, to the home of Claude Brackett, who has just been arrested in connection with a two-year-old bond securities robbery, Vince is disturbed to discover familiar feminine articles there. Vince, an ex-policeman, leaves his calling card behind, and the next day, he is visited by Brackett's wife Lucy, with whom he was once involved and whose sudden disappearance left him brokenhearted. Lucy tells Vince that she was separated from Brackett when she met and fell in love with him, and only returned to Brackett because he was in trouble with the law. Vince doubts Lucy's claims that she no longer loves her weak-willed husband, whom she maintains is innocent. Vince also refuses to help Lucy post Brackett's $25,000 bail, for which she and her lawyer, Lennert, have only $4,000. Later, however, Vince changes his mind and offers to do what he can to get Brackett out of jail. The next day, a suspicious-looking lawyer named Matthew Dawson shows up in Vince's office with an additional $12,000 for Brackett's bail. Against the advice of his veteran partner, Joe Farley, Vince uses $9,000 of his company's money to make Brackett's bail. Vince questions Brackett about Dawson after he is released from jail, but Brackett insists he knows nothing about the lawyer. Because a policeman was killed during the securities robbery, Nick is furious at Vince for helping Brackett get out of jail and insinuates that the bondsman's true motive is to steal Lucy. After he is further berated by the tightfisted Joe, Vince goes to McKay's Tavern to question a cigarette girl whom Brackett had dated during his separation. The cigarette girl tells Vince that Brackett worked with a con man who wore a flashy ring. The cigarette girl also helps Vince locate Dawson's office, but he is unable to see the lawyer, whom he believes is a gangster "mouthpiece." Vince, who is being followed, then goes to Brackett's apartment, where a distressed Lucy tries to hide the fact that her husband has jumped bail. Suspicious, Vince asks Lucy to run away with him and, when she readily agrees, accuses her of using him to buy time for Brackett. Although Lucy continues to insist that she truly loves him, Vince is skeptical. A still hostile Nick then informs Vince that Brackett was murdered while fleeing town. Vince confronts Dawson at his home, and the frightened lawyer finally reveals the name of the hotel where the man who hired him was living. Although Vince misses the man at the hotel, the bellhop reveals information concerning the man's demeanor, and Vince soon realizes that the man who hired Dawson is Max Collins, the con man whom the cigarette girl described, and the man who has been following him. By bribing a taxi driver who drove Collins, Vince is able to find Collins' apartment and there discovers the flashy ring as well as a calling card from McKay's Tavern. Returning to the tavern, Vince accuses owner Jerry McKay of fronting criminals like Collins and announces that he is "shaking him down" for $50,000. To Vince's surprise, Joe then walks into McKay's office. Concerned that his partner's activities will cost him business, Joe tells Vince that he is buying him out for $25,000. After the three men agree to exchange money the next day at Vince's apartment, Vince tells Nick about Collins' guilt in both Brackett's murder and the policeman's, and vows to bring him to justice. When Joe and McKay arrive at his apartment, Vince announces that, in addition to the $75,000, he wants Collins. Unaware that Lucy is eavesdropping on the conversation, McKay tells Vince that he will arrange for Collins to ride with them to Bronson Canyon. Just before the men leave, Vince signals to Lucy to alert Nick, and soon Lucy and the police are racing toward the canyon. As they drive into the canyon, Collins smugly admits his guilt and threatens Vince. Soon Vince, McKay and Collins begin fighting in the back seat, and Joe suddenly stops the car, forcing the brawling men out of the car. During the ensuing struggle, Joe has a sudden change of heart and is shot by Collins. Vince, however, knocks the crook unconscious just as Nick and Lucy arrive with the police. As Vince and Lucy embrace, the wounded Joe returns Vince's $25,000 and advises Nick to keep McKay's $50,000 handy for his bail.