Cast & Crew
On San Francisco's waterfront, rising middleweight champion Vic Lundy prepares to fight Ham Harper, who is out of shape from years of drinking. Lundy's manager, Harry Barton, who has fixed the fight in Harper's favor, hires jack-of-all-trades Denny O'Brien to place three separate $1,000 bets on Harper. Outside the gym, Gail Chase, posing as Harper's concerned girl friend, finds out from O'Brien that the fight has been fixed in Harper's favor. The bookies become suspicious when O'Brien places a bet under the name "Steve Belzig." When Lundy wins the match in the seventh round, a surprised O'Brien goes to Barton's apartment to collect his pay, and there finds Lundy defending himself to a gambler named Gannon. Lundy claims that Barton told him to lose the match in the seventh round, but Harper did not have the energy to fight back that late in the match. Gannon then informs Lundy that his orders were to lose the match in the first round. After O'Brien reveals the details of his bets for Barton, Lundy explains that "Steve Belzig" was his old prison name. Gannon concludes that the odds changed suddenly in favor of Harper once word spread that Lundy was betting against himself. Furious that Barton has set him up, Lundy takes his anger out on O'Brien by knocking him out. When O'Brien comes to, Lundy is dead in the chair beside him and police lieutenant Bruger believes that O'Brien fixed the fight himself and killed Lundy for winning the bout. Later, at his dilapidated apartment, O'Brien asks his roommate, Prof. Fredrick Shicker, a loquacious drunk, to investigate the bookies. Meanwhile, O'Brien breaks into Gannon's apartment and finds Gail, who explains that she is actually Gannon's girl friend and Gannon sent her to ask O'Brien about the bet. O'Brien then tracks Barton to a boardinghouse where Barton claims that he did not know Lundy was supposed to lose in the first round. Barton directs O'Brien to a safe-deposit box that he claims contains evidence that will clear them of Lundy's death. When O'Brien goes to pick up the package, he finds Bruger waiting there. After informing O'Brien that Barton has been murdered, Bruger tells him he has been placed at the scene of the crime and asks for an alibi. O'Brien has none and when he opens the package and finds it contains tens of thousands of dollars, Bruger further doubts O'Brien's innocence. Back at their apartment, Fredrick reports to O'Brien that Barton, knowing the odds had changed to five-to-one once "Steve Belzig" placed a bet, wagering ten thousand on Lundy to win. O'Brien then asks Bruger to meet him at Gannon's apartment, where they find Gail packing. O'Brien slips the safe-deposit key in her pocket and then tells Gannon that she has the key to Barton's vault. When Gannon finds the key, he thinks she is working for Barton and at gunpoint, demands to know where the money is. O'Brien manages to overpower Gannon and leaves Bruger to arrest them both. Returning to his apartment, O'Brien summarizes the criminals' scheme for Fredrick: Gannon paid Lundy and his manager Barton to throw the fight to make money on the long odds. Barton became greedy and told Lundy the fix was on for the seventh round, not the first, knowing Harper could not last that long, then secretly bet $10,000 on Lundy. After the match, Gannon assumed Lundy was double-crossing him and killed him, then had Barton killed. Days later, ex-model Irma Rand hires O'Brien to pose as her stepdaughter Sylvia's husband, Ted Falon, to discourage Bill Rafferty from courting Sylvia. Back at the apartment, Fredrick tells O'Brien that Rafferty disappeared years earlier to avoid testifying in a gambling investigation. Later, in the alley behind the nightclub owned by her uncle, Steve Rand, Sylvia introduces O'Brien as Falon to Rafferty. Rafferty, however, is more interested in some bonds he has come to claim and begins to beat Sylvia for information about their location. When O'Brien tries to intervene, Rafferty's henchman, Eddie Paige, knocks him out and throws him into a dumpster. After O'Brien comes to, Steve Rand is lying dead beside him and Bruger is about to arrest O'Brien for the murder. After examining Steve's body for identification, they discover he is actually Ted Falon, Sylvia's husband. O'Brien then heads for the Blackstone hotel, because Irma has told him that Sylvia is hiding from Rafferty there. O'Brien is met by Rafferty and Eddie, who knock him out. When he comes to, Eddie and Rafferty are lying in the hallway dead from gunshot wounds, O'Brien's empty gun beside them. Later, O'Brien discovers Rafferty was in a gambling racket and left his old girl friend Sylvia $30,000 in government bonds on the condition that, as long as both parties were alive, one could not cash the bonds without the other's signature. Surmising that Sylvia has already heard of Rafferty's death in the newspaper and will depart with the money shortly, O'Brien fetches Bruger and they go to Irma's apartment. When O'Brien explains that Ted's murder cannot be attributed to Rafferty, Sylvia pulls a gun on Irma and hysterically accuses her of killing Ted so she would have to split the money with only Sylvia. Bruger grabs the gun and arrests them both. Realizing that O'Brien was being framed, Bruger facetiously asks him about his honeymoon with Sylvia. O'Brien answers, "You've been on one, you've been on them all."
A. J. Roth
J. Francis Murphy
F. Paul Sylos
The working title of this film was Pier 23, which was the release title of the next film in the "Dennis O'Brien" series. Voice-over narration is provided by Hugh Beaumont, as his character "Denny O'Brien," throughout the film, which was shot on location in San Francisco, CA. The June 14, 1951 Daily Variety review states that the film was created as two thirty-minute segments that were to be screened on television following the film's release in theaters, but a record of this telecast has not been found.
Roaring City was the second of three "Dennis O'Brien" films featuring Beaumont as the amateur detective. Like the other two films in the series, Roaring City consisted of two separate stories that could be broadcast as television episodes after the theatrical release. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Danger Zone.