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Passkey to Danger

Passkey to Danger(1946)

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Perplexed by a new advertisement designed for his company by advertising man Tex Hanlon, New York fashion designer Malcolm Tauber asks Hanlon to explain how the ad, which contains little more than the words "The Three Springs," represents his company's product. Hanlon, however, reminds Tauber that their contract stipulates that the mystery can only be revealed in the final installment of the ad campaign. Gwen Hughes, Tauber's assistant and Hanlon's sweetheart, helped design the Three Springs ad, which consists of three pictured models, each wearing a different fashion, with captions reading "Palm Springs," "Saratoga Springs" and "Colorado Springs." While Gwen and Hanlon admire their creation, a threatening note is slipped under the door of Hanlon's office, but Hanlon believes that it is a hoax. Just outside his office, Hanlon walks into the path of a mysterious woman named Renee Beauchamps, who asks for a job with his firm and tries to abscond with his portfolio. Hanlon returns to his apartment to find two shady characters, Mr. Warren and his assistant Bert, waiting outside his door. Warren, who is the head of a Cincinnati fashion design company, asks Hanlon about the details of his Three Springs ad campaign, and when Hanlon refuses to divulge anything, Bert knocks him unconscious. Gwen enters Hanlon's apartment just as he regains consciousness, and offers her help in finding out more about Warren. Later that night, Hanlon meets Chicago meat packer Julian Leighton, who offers to pay him $20,000 to abandon his new ad campaign. Hanlon refuses, and when he asks Leighton why he is interested in the ad, the meat packer abruptly ends the conversation. On the street, Hanlon gets another mysterious note, this time from Jenny, an astrologist, instructing him to go to a specific location later that night. Renee later finds Jenny murdered in her apartment, and when Warren arrives, she tells him that she was working for the astrologist. She also tells Warren that she is planning to marry Hanlon to get the secret of his ad campaign. After Warren, Renee and Bert leave Jenny's apartment, Hanlon enters and is arrested for the murder. Hanlon realizes he is being framed, but wins his freedom after giving the police a verifiable alibi. At his home, Hanlon is visited by yet another mysterious character, Alex Cardovsky, who offers him $100,000 for the ad. Renee, caught with one of the threatening notes in her hand, confesses to Hanlon that it was she who wrote them, and that she did so only to get him to work for her. Hanlon begins to understand the underworld interest in his ad when special investigator Gerald Bates tells him that three brothers, known as the Spring Brothers, were involved in an embezzlement racket twenty years earlier. Two of the brothers escaped on their way to prison, Hanlon is told, and were never captured. Bates believes that the two brothers, who were presumed dead at the time, are still alive and in contact with the third brother, who changed his name and disappeared after serving his sentence. Hanlon and Bates join forces to trap the brothers, but they are too late to save Renee, who has been murdered by Warren in another attempt to frame Hanlon. Hanlon is later shocked when Tauber reveals himself to be one of the Spring Brothers, along with Cardovsky and Leighton. When Warren is revealed to be the person who helped the brothers escape, he tries to kill them for not sharing their take with him, but the police arrive in time to save Hanlon, and Warren is arrested with the brothers.