Dangerous Business


60m 1946

Brief Synopsis

Two young lawyers (Forrest Tucker and Lynn Merrick) open an office together. They are hired to defend a utilities magnate (Thurston Hall) who claims he has been framed. He is kidnapped by a gangster (Gerald Mohr), and a battle royal ensues when the lawyers try to rescue him.

Film Details

Also Known As
Power of Attorney
Release Date
Jun 20, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Corpus Delicti by Harry J. Essex (unproduced).

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In 1941, at the Central Law School commencement ceremony, utilities magnate B. J. Calhoun delivers the commencement address, promising, as sponsor of the graduating class, to assist and advise the novice lawyers. After they are awarded their law degrees, sweethearts Clayton Russell and Lizbeth Ellsworth pledge to marry as soon as they earn $10,000. Their plans are postponed, however, when Pearl Harbor is bombed, sending Clay to enlist in the armed forces while Liz contributes to the war effort in Washington, D. C. After the war ends, Clay returns home, accompanied by his new friend Alexander Pough, a petty thief and fellow combat veteran. Although Clay is eager to marry, Liz holds him to their graduation pledge. Six long weeks later, they are eagerly awaiting their first client when Alex comes to the office with news that Calhoun has been jailed for embezzlement, and Clay enlists Alex's help in securing Calhoun as a client. Claiming that he was framed by his lawyer Fluger, Calhoun has refused all legal representation. At Calhoun's arraignment, Alex wins his confidence and reminds him about his inspirational graduation speech. When Calhoun confides that he fears for his life and therefore wants to remain in jail, Alex convinces him that Clay and Liz will both protect and defend him. Unable to raise Calhoun's bail, Alex persuades Liz's mother, Mrs. Abigail Ellsworth, to mortgage her house. Still shy several thousand dollars, Alex borrows the money from Duke, an underworld figure. After Calhoun is released from jail, Alex arranges for Gus, another petty crook, to guard him as he takes refuge at the Ellsworth house. However, Gus is secretly in league with Monk and Bert, two shady characters who are in the employ of Fluger, the lawyer who framed Calhoun. Following Gus to the Ellsworth house, Bert and Monk kidnap Calhoun. Upon discovering Calhoun's abduction, Liz and Clay join Alex as he questions his criminal cohorts. One informant leads them to a housing development in the suburbs, where they find the discarded robe that Calhoun had been wearing. Fearing the Calhoun has been murdered, they all return to Clay and Liz's office and Liz learns that her mother has mortgaged the house to raise Calhoun's bail. To redeem Mrs. Ellsworth's bail money, Alex decides to steal a body from the morgue and present him as Calhoun at the trial, thus guaranteeing the return of the bail. Appalled, Clay insists on immediately returning the body to the morgue. After they return the corpse, Duke, desirous of obtaining his money, decides to duplicate Alex's stunt and steals the body himself. Gus, meanwhile, feeling sorry for Mrs. Ellsworth, offers to take her to Fluger's hideout. While eavesdropping at the window, Mrs. Ellsworth hears Fluger trying to force Calhoun to plead guilty to embezzlement. Outraged, she protests, prompting Fluger to order Monte and Bert to lock both her and Calhoun in a room and later dispose of them. Meanwhile, as Liz worries about her missing mother, the police arrive at the Ellsworth house and accuse Clay of murdering Calhoun. When they explain that they found Clay's hat next to Calhoun's corpse, Clay protests that Calhoun is still alive. Gus and Alex then arrive, and after overpowering the police, Gus leads Alex, Clay and Liz to Fluger's hideout. As a fight ensues, the police arrive and find Mrs. Ellsworth and Calhoun hiding in a closet. After Fluger and his cohorts are arrested, Calhoun, his faith restored in the justice system, hires Clay and Liz to represent him, and his $10,000 retainer fee finally allows them to marry.

Film Details

Also Known As
Power of Attorney
Release Date
Jun 20, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Corpus Delicti by Harry J. Essex (unproduced).

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Power of Attorney. A November 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Janis Carter was initially slated to play "Lizbeth Ellsworth." Although the character is called "Lizbeth" throughout the film, in the opening commencement address she is called "Carol."