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Woman in the Dark

Woman in the Dark(1952)

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Mama and Papa Morello, a kindly Italian-American couple, are celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary. Attending the party are old family friends Tante Maria, a German bakery owner; her pretty young shop assistant, Anna Reichardt; and two of the couple's sons: Tony, a Catholic priest, and Gino, a ne'er-do-well who, although down on his luck, boasts that he will achieve success the quick way. Their third son Phil, a lawyer, suddenly arrives with a well-dressed young woman and surprises everyone by introducing her as his fiancée, Evelyn Courtney. Phil's announcement saddens Anna, as she is in love with him. Gino, on the other hand, reacts to the wealthy and attractive Evelyn with inappropriate boasting. When Phil chastises Gino, he storms angrily out of the building. At a nearby bar, which also serves as the unofficial headquarters for city alderman and gangster Nick Petzick, Gino fights with Petzick's two henchmen, Slats Hylan and Dutch Bender. Nick calls off his thugs, and Gino hints that he would like to become part of Petzick's operation. The corrupt politician, insisting that he entered politics solely to help people, smilingly sends Gino on his way, but Gino's request has given him an idea. Petzick orders Hylan and Bender to promise Gino ten thousand dollars for assisting them in the robbery of the "Unclaimed Cargo," a million-dollar jewel collection that is to be sold to the highest bidder by its owner, the Waldorf Jewelry Company. A Waldorf's employee who owes Petzick a favor has agreed to facilitate the robbery, but the gangster had been uncertain about how to dispose of the jewels. Because the insurer of the collection, the Apex Insurance Co., is represented by Gino's brother Phil, Petzick will threaten to reveal Gino's role in the robbery unless Phil arranges for Apex to buy the jewels back for a large sum. Desperately short of money, Gino agrees to help the two thieves with the robbery. Anna, who dates Gino occasionally, becomes worried when he cancels their movie date, and when she later sees him peering into Waldorf's in the company of two known gangsters, she consults Tony. That night, Tony visits his parents' apartment, but they inform him that Gino has retired early with a cold. Tony peeks into Gino's window, but finding the room empty, he makes a call to Inspector Johnson. Meanwhile, Gino and Petzick's henchmen commit the robbery, during which Gino knocks the night watchman unconscious. As they dash for their car, however, the police arrive. Bullets fill the air, but the robbers finally escape, and Gino returns to his room through the window. Later Tony confronts Gino, warning that if he becomes a criminal and hurts their parents, he will get tough. The next day, Tony and Anna visit Phil, whom Petzick has already ordered to buy the jewels back for the insurance company. Phil devises a plan, and Anna, worried for his safety, gives him her Saint Christopher medal for protection. Moved, he kisses her. Next, Phil confronts Gino, and when Gino realizes he has been used, he admits his crime and confesses that he has been unable to sleep since the robbery. The next evening, as Phil prepares to carry out his plan at Petzick's headquarters, Evelyn enters, furious that he forgot their opera date. Declaring that they are not compatible, she breaks off their engagement and leaves. Phil then keeps his appointment with Petzick, exchanging a suitcase full of money for the jewels while the alderman's thugs wait just outside the door. Suddenly Gino enters with a gun, and the two brothers pick up both suitcases and head for the door. "I was raised in just as tough a neighborhood as you were," Phil remarks to Petzick, "and I can be just as tough as you." The next day, the newspaper names Phil as the hero who recovered the jewels. Gino sees Phil holding Anna's hand and jokes about their friendly rivalry for her affections. Just then, a car speeds by, and Gino is shot to death while trying to shield his brother. Distressed, Phil enters Petzick's headquarters with a gun, but the thugs wrench it away from him. As they are about to kill him, the police enter with Tony and Anna. Petzick is shot, and as the other crooks are led away, Phil takes Anna in his arms and kisses her.