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Erich von Stroheim,
Mary Beth Hughes,
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Four boys and a girl form a gang in the Hell's Kitchen section of New York City, and in the course of committing a crime they start a fire, leading to one of them being caught and sent to the reformatory. Years later, the five of them make a practice of meeting once a year. Marty, the one who had been caught, now runs a night club and gambling house, while Helen is a singer who performs there. Jerry is now a priest, while the two O'Mara brothers have become policemen. On the night of their reunion, the O'Mara brothers are called to investigate the death of one of Marty's customers. Marty knows that two of his enforcers are responsible, so he sends them back to cover up the evidence. But one of the O'Mara brothers confronts them, with violent results that will set the former friends against one another. Written by
The film begins with a group of five kids playing around a warehouse. They accidentally light the place ablaze and run when the police arrive. However, one of the gang (Marty) is caught and he refuses to tell them who else was involved. So, he takes the rap for everyone and ends up growing into a guy who is a shady character--owning his own casino and consorting with disreputable types.
The other four members of the gang grew into a not particularly talented lounge singer who works for Marty (Helen), a priest (Jerry) and two brothers who are firemen (Joe and Mike). Each year, they all meet for a reunion and are life-long friends.
This friendship is tested when two thugs that work for Marty kill a man. Joe suspects it is not an accident and when he goes back to investigate, the thugs kill him as well! Now Mike takes up where Joe left off and he begins to suspect Marty's involvement. As for Marty, he did NOT want anyone killed and is stuck having to cover for the two thugs because this all began when he ordered the two to rough up a customer who refused to make good on his gambling debts. The problem is that the thugs have plans of their own and they refuse to leave town when Marty tells them to beat it.
In the middle of this mess is Father Jerry. He cannot allow Mike to kill Marty but also cannot just ignore Marty's involvement. How all this is worked out is something you'll just have to see for yourself.
Overall, this is a very interesting B-film with some nice twists and turns thanks to some excellent writing. As far as the acting goes, it's just fine, though Victor McLaglen in the lead is a real standout--in a tough but very sympathetic performance.
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