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The Escape

The Escape(1939)

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As newspaper headlines announce the death of New York gangster Louie Peronni, reporter Chet Warren gets the inside story from Dr. Shumaker, the Peronni family doctor. After Louie returns home from prison to his East Side neighborhoood, he is shot by a rival gangster and learns that Annie Qualen, his wife by a secret marriage, has born him a child but has put the child up for adoption rather than rear it with a gangster father. He also discovers that his sister, Juli, a schoolteacher, has become engaged to Eddie Farrell, the neighborhood policeman, who was once Louie's childhood friend. Louie, who hates policemen, breaks up the engagement by telling Juli that he was the man who killed Eddie's policeman father in a robbery. Then, following the death of their father, the three Rogers boys, Jim, Tommy and Willie, come to live with Annie, who is their cousin, and her mother Mamie. Jim, the oldest, looks for work while Tommy and Willie go to school. Tommy becomes the chum of Swat, leader of the neighborhood delinquents, while Willie becomes friends with Eddie, who shows him the better side of the neighborhood. When Mamie becomes ill and Annie is arrested while working in a dance hall, a city welfare worker threatens to take the boys away, but Shumaker convinces him to wait. Jim gets a job working nights in a fur warehouse. Tommy and Swat go to Louie and his gang, led by Chummy Miller, telling them that they can steal furs from under Jim's eyes. Louie sends the boys away, realizing that the gang can steal the $50,000 worth of furs themselves. As Tommy and Swat watch, Louie and his gang steal the furs, killing the watchman and running over Willie during their escape. Learning that Jim has been arrested as an accomplice and that Willie is seriously injured, Tommy goes to the police and tells all. After Louie is arrested, his gang kidnaps the district attorney's baby to make an exchange. Annie goes to the police station to tell Louie that the kidnapped child is their baby. Eddie helps Louie escape and the two go to the gang's hideout. Before going inside, Louie tells Eddie that he lied to Juli, that Chummy Miller actually killed his father. Inside the hideout, Louie sees his child for the first and only time as, in the ensuing shoot-out, he is killed by Miller, who is then killed by Eddie. As he dies, Louie asks Eddie not to tell anyone he is the child's father and preys for his family's forgiveness. As Dr. Shumaker finishes the story, Chet decides to tear up his notes and follow the doctor on another story: the birth of a neighborhood baby and the beautiful nurse who assisted.