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The Threat

The Threat(1949)

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After cold-blooded killer Arnold "Red" Kluger escapes from Folsom State Penitentiary, Los Angeles district attorney Barker "Mac" MacDonald and police detective Ray Williams, who helped convict Kluger, are notified, as Kluger has sworn to kill both men. Upon hearing the news, Ray immediately leaves his pregnant wife Ann to report for duty and is kidnapped by Kluger and his thug, Nick Damon, while getting into his car. Kluger also orchestrates the kidnapping of Mac and Carol, a showgirl and former moll, and takes all three victims to his hideout. There, by threatening the middle-aged Mac with torture, Kluger pressures Ray into filing a false progress report with his supervisor, Murphy. Kluger then questions Ray about Carol, his partner Tony Anzo's former girl friend, whom he suspects of informing on him. Although Ray tells Kluger that Carol was not the informant, the criminal refuses to believe him, pointing out that a bracelet on Carol's arm was taken from the safety deposit box whose stolen contents were used to convict him. When Carol insists that Tony was the "squealer," Ray supports her claims by revealing to Kluger that the anonymous tip that led to his capture came from Mexico, where Tony is now in hiding. Ray also tells Kluger that $100,000 was missing from the box, money that Carol obviously does not have. Although his confidence in Tony is now a bit shaken, Kluger proceeds with his plan to rendezvous with his partner in the desert and forces his victims into a truck, which he has ordered from the unsuspecting Joe Turner. Kluger also loads Ray's unmarked police car into the vehicle and drills lookout holes in its side. At gunpoint, Joe is forced by Kluger to drive the truck, with thug Lefty as his cabmate. After narrowly escaping detection at a police roadblock, the criminals are exposed when Ray, who is tied up inside his car, manages to blow the horn and alert a motorcycle officer. Using the lookout holes, Kluger guns down the officer, however, and the truck speeds off. Soon after, Kluger orders everyone into Ray's car and, abandoning the truck, the crooks head for their hideout in Banning, where Tony is to meet them in his airplane. There Kluger, Nick and Lefty keep Ray and Mac handcuffed in an inner room, while they wait for Tony in the outer room. When Kluger hears on Ray's police radio that the police are expecting Tony to fly in from Mexico, he forces Ray to give Murphy false information about Kluger's whereabouts. Before hanging up, however, Ray also relays a message to Ann, sending his regards to "Dexter," the name that Ann wants to give to their baby, but that Ray has said he would only use if he "had a gun to his back." Later, Joe, who has sneaked a gun in from his truck, tries to escape, but Kluger shoots him dead. After Nick and Lefty fall asleep in the desert heat, the ever-suspicious Kluger removes the bullets from their guns and rejects Carol's desperate attempt at seduction. Ann, meanwhile, finally deduces her husband's hidden message and, using a police radio, alerts Murphy to the situation. Outside, Kluger overhears Ann's warning on Ray's car radio, but before he can act on the news, Ray, who has been freed by Carol, ambushes both Nick and Lefty. Unaware that the thugs's guns are empty, Ray and Mac retreat to the inner room with Carol, and are almost killed when an enraged Kluger begins shooting at the door. When Kluger hears Tony's airplane overhead and rushes out to signal to it, Ray sneaks onto a rafter in the outer room. Ray then jumps Kluger, who loses his gun but knocks Ray out with a chair. Carol grabs Kluger's gun before he can, however, and fires repeatedly at him, killing him. After thanking Carol for her help, a revived Ray then goes to apprehend Tony. Later, Ann happily informs Ray that she is having twins, only one of which will have to be named Dexter.