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William A. Wellman
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Country lawyer Lynn Hollister comes to the city to investigate the murder of a friend found shot after spending the evening in The Inferno, a night club that fronts for an illicit gambling operation. It is covertly run by an affable but corrupt politician, 'Boss' Tom Cameron, who uses voter fraud to maintain influence on city hall and the governor's mansion. Hollister learns that his friend was a winner in a dice game on the night of the murder and threatened exposure of Cameron's vice racket. Complications arise when other underworld forces vie to take over Cameron's operation, and Holister falls in love with Cameron's beautiful daughter. Written by
When Johnny Smith stumbles out of the Club Inferno, he's shown with a letter 'S' on his sweater denoting his team from Spring Valley. As he continues into the street and stops short of getting hit by a car, the letter 'S' is reversed, and then when he collapses under the lamp post as lightning strikes it, the letter 'S' is normal again. See more »
Very near the end of the film where it shows all the luggage is marked "Spring Valley" even on the motorcycle policemen's motorcycle, then on the last policeman's back is a package marked "The End". See more »
One push topples an empire that took me years to build!
**SPOILERS** Small-time country boy lawyer Lynn Hollister takes on the big city political machine and ends up hitched to the corrupt city boss' daughter in this really weird combination of a screw-ball comedy and murder/suspense movie.
Johnny Smith who had just help his Spring Valley college basketball team win the big game staggers out of the red-light district Club Inferno, in a driving rainstorm. Johnny almost gets hit by a car leans against a lamppost which then gets hit by a bolt of lighting and plops to the ground dead. At the hospital it's found out that Johnny was actually shot in the Inferno Club, which caused him to stagger around the streets like a drunk, and that was the real reason for his death, in short he was murdered.
In no time at all Johnny's friend, who he was more like a brother to, Lynn Hollister's in town trying to get to the bottom of what happened to Johnny and who killed him. The coroner for some strange reason had declared Johnny's death to be suicide which was obviously done to cover up the real reason for his murder. He had a fight with the Club Inferno's manager Amato over him being cheated in cards and was gunned down, with the loud music causing nobody to hear the shot, by one of Amato's henchmen the bird-brained and not too bright Floyd.
Lynn is directed to Big Boss Tom Cameron's mansion to get the low-down to what happened to Johnny but, after belting the butler, falls for Tom's pretty daughter Sabra. It's then the film that at first look like a murder/suspense/mystery turns into a light romantic screwball comedy.
Lynn and Sabra hit it off right away and for almost half of the film you, as well as the cast, completely forgot that Lynn was here to find out what really happened to Johnny? We get as far as learning that Johnny and Sabra were in love with each other but it wasn't until late in the movie that it's found out that it was Sabra's dad the Big Boss who was in some way, if not all the way, responsible for her boyfriends murder.
Boss Cameron himself gets royally screwed by his under, as well as upper, links when after rigging the election for them to get into office they drop him like a hot potato and leave him out in the cold as they celebrate the stolen political victory that he engineered for them; now that's what I call gratitude.
In he meantime Lynn, between smooching sessions with Sabra, got the goods on both Boss Cameron and his crew by first attempting to beat the truth out of Flyod who was shot by one of Amato's gunmen before he could finish telling it. Then Lynn going and finding in a law library textbook that rigging elections is illegal, lawyer Lynn didn't know this on his own? With this amazing revelation discovered by Lynn the election results are thrown out and those who rigged it, the Cameron/Amoto Mob,arrested and held without bail.
Big Boss Tom Cameron disgusted at what he did, and what was done to him in return by his boys, comes clean after a tender heart-to-heart talk with Sabra and then spills the beans, to the D.A's office, with the entire crooked bunch of politicians and mobsters thrown behind bars together with him; I hope for his sake he asked to be put into protective custody.
Lynn with his job in town now over, in solving Johnny Smith's murder and putting those responsible behind bars, rides off in a limousine into the sunset together with Sabra to sleepy quiet and friendly Spring Valley with a squad of local police motorcycle men as escorts.
The movie is just too silly to take seriously and John Wayne as Lynn Hollister is not at all believable as a lawyer or a lawman or even a Cary Grant impersonator. Frances Dee as Boss Cameron's pretty daughter Sabra is both naive and unfeeling. Sabra at first doesn't have a clue to what her father is, the city's big machine boss, and later doesn't as much as shed a tear as he's put behind bars for what may well be the rest of his life! I don't even think that she even planned to visit him as she happily took off with Lynn together with a half dozen motorized policemen provided by her disgraced and imprisoned dad! Even behind bars he could pull all this off?
Alexande Granach as the sleazy Club Inferno manager Amato played it a bit too much for laughs and Ward Bond as the nimble brained Floyd did his best to act punch-drunk even when he didn't take one, or two or three, to the head. In fact the only time Floyd acted as if he were in full control of his mental faculties was after he was punched out by Lynn only to get shot and killed for his new found intelligence.
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