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Street Bandits

Street Bandits(1951)

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Remind Me

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L. T. Mitchell of ACME Amusement Enterprises is the front man for a group of slot machine racketeers. During a meeting in his office with his lawyer, William Carrington, and his mobster partner, Monk Walter, he discusses the new anti-gambling ordinances which the district attorney and the police are taking seriously. Carrington, who is uncomfortable with Walter's violent business tactics, advises that they lay low for a while, but Walter feels that too much money is at stake to pull back. Always ready to use physical coercion to motivate local business owners, he wants to keep the current machines in operation, while expanding the presence of slot machines into new locations. Their heated discussion is interrupted by Fred Palmer, an overeager, young lawyer, who has just opened a law office down the hall with his partner, Tom Reagan. Fred's invitation to their open house party is rudely brushed off by Carrington, but Tom convinces a young stenographer, Mildred Anderson, to join the party. Mildred is attracted to Fred, and Fred's mother Martha approves. Though she feels ill, Martha is also quietly celebrating, because she has put Fred through law school by running a neighborhood store and doing odd jobs. When the law firm is not immediately successful, Tom considers an offer to work with the district attorney, while Fred eagerly agrees to represent Walter, who is arrested on charges of possessing nitroglycerine explosives. Before the trial, many advise Fred to have Walter plead guilty, but by switching the exhibited bottle of nitro for a bottle of water, and claiming false evidence, Fred wins the case. Walter is free to murder a slot machine manufacturer who has raised his prices, and then has Mitchell set up a corporation to buy the murdered man's company under the name Bancroft Corporation. Although he is unhappy with Fred's clients, Tom works on the Bancroft contracts, unaware that the company is owned by Mitchell. Mildred, who is courting Fred, convinces him to break off from the mobsters. However, when his mother's heart condition worsens, Fred feels compelled to make the law office a success and agrees to represent Walter when a witness comes forward, claiming to have seen him at the scene of the factory owner's murder. Tom, who has discovered Bancroft Corporation's connection with Mitchell, insists that Fred drop the disreputable clients. Fred refuses, so Tom dissolves the partnership and takes the district attorney position. During the trial Fred and Tom represent opposite sides of the case. When the witness, who acts frightened, refuses to identify Walter, however, the case is dismissed and Walter is again free. Fred, who is now able to provide a comfortable living for his mother and himself, marries Mildred, but their honeymoon is interrupted when Mitchell learns that the police are looking for evidence to link him with the factory owner's murder. Fred feels confident he can defend him, but Mitchell wants to plea bargain. To Fred's horror, Walter, who fears he will be implicated if Mitchell pleads guilty, kills Mitchell in front of Fred, and makes it look like suicide. Fred then returns home to find that Mildred and his mother have left him, hoping that he will reconsider his current course. In the morning, Fred sends Tom a list of Walter's henchmen and promises to provide evidence by two o'clock that afternoon. He then proceeds to Mitchell's house to pick up corroborating papers that Mitchell had told him about, and encounters Walter there searching for the evidence. Walter and Fred fight, and Fred escapes to his car. Walter's thug, Johnny Mayer, is waiting to drive Walter, and they pursue Fred. Fred drives to the courthouse, but as he runs up the front steps, Walter shoots him and nabs the papers, just as Tom approaches. While pursuing Walter in a police car, the police shoot Johnny, whose car crashes, and Walter is killed trying to escape. Later in the hospital, Tom reports to the wounded Fred that the district attorney's office talked to the Bar Association, and decided against further investigation. After Tom says he wants to return to their partnership, Fred and Mildred make plans to finish their honeymoon.