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Handle with Care

Handle with Care(1932)

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When little Tommy Evans is picked up by police for stealing milk to feed his three hungry cats, he tells them that his guardian is his aunt, Helen Barlow, who has taken care of him and his brother Charlie since their mother's death. Assistant district attorney Bill Gordon recognizes Helen's name from his high school days and takes Tommy back to his apartment, where he meets with Helen and catches up on old times. Bill and Helen begin to see each other frequently, and Tommy and Charlie grow jealous. When Carl Lundstrom, the music teacher who lives next door and occasionally babysits for the boys, makes dinner for them all, Bill and the children's relationship is made more distant by their mutual antagonism. Meanwhile, Helen has been accosted by gangsters who tell her to inform Bill to keep off the Bernard case. Bill, however, assures her that he will be successful in his prosecution of the notorious criminal. Later that night, Bill and Helen go dancing, and Bill proposes. As the couple kiss in front of Helen's apartment, Tommy and Charlie watch with disgust, and after he falls asleep, Tommy has a nightmare about Bill carrying off Helen. The next day, as Bill practices an important speech for the Bernard case, Tommy and Charlie deliberately disrupt him, and Bill tells Helen that after they are married, the boys will have to be sent to boarding school. Helen, shocked at Bill's insensitivity, asks him to leave for good. Helen becomes very depressed without Bill, however, and the boys decide to bring him back so that their aunt will be happy again. During the Bernard trial, two criminals leave the courtroom after Bill's opening speech and go to his apartment, where they intend to kill him when he returns. Tommy and Charlie arrive first, however, and the gangsters keep them hostage, fearing that they will tell Bill of their presence. After the boys have been locked in the kitchen, Charlie uses an ironing board to crawl from a window into a neighboring apartment. Hundreds of children and several police accompany him back to Bill's apartment building, where one of the crooks is apprehended, while the other falls out the window during an escape attempt. Bill and Charlie find Tommy in the kitchen with a bullet wound in his arm, but, despite his failing strength, the young boy asks Bill to have dinner with his aunt. Bill and the boys return to Helen, and as the couple embrace, Carl's band strikes up a tune.