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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
A good story idea and a good performance by Victor McLaglen make this crime feature work well, despite some weaknesses in other areas. The premise is a good one that holds many possibilities, and in general the story makes solid use of them. The production has a low-budget look to it, but most of the time this doesn't get in the way. The rest of the cast never comes up to McLaglen's level, and this is probably the main thing that keeps it from being better. It's still pretty good.
The setup has McLaglen's character Marty, as a boy, as part of a five-member gang (which includes one girl) in Hell's Kitchen. Caught in the act of one of their crimes, Marty is the only one caught and sent to the reformatory. Then the main story starts, with the five of them now adults, and holding a reunion. As the only former convict, Marty owns a night club and gambling house, while the others include a singer, a priest, and two police officers.
The story that follows tests the relationships among all of the old friends, and sometimes pits their new relationships against the old ones. As a result, there are some good moments of drama and suspense. McLaglen fleshes out Marty quite well, bringing out his character and the way that it has been shaped by events. If the other characters had approached his in depth, it could have been quite compelling.
The rest of the cast is adequate, and the pacing also keeps things moving, but the one-dimensional nature of the other characters often keeps it from grabbing you as much as it could have. It's still well above average for its time and genre.
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