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A convict is finishing a ten-year prison sentence, during which time he has studied to become a gentleman and intends to go straight. But his former partner, believing he is holding out on him, plants an actress to pose as his lost daughter. He grows fond of her but she eventually confesses her hoax. He is hurt, but when she and her fiancé are kidnapped by his ex-partner's henchmen, he withdraws all his savings from the bank to pay the ransom. But this action by him was planned as the signal for a bank robbery and he is arrested as an accomplice to the robbery. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
... and though the film was a box office disappointment, I think it holds up today, showing Beery's stronger points as an actor.
Beery plays Jim Breedin, a guy finishing a 15 year stretch in the pen for bank robbery. He has worked his way up to a trustee and plans to go straight when he gets out. Right before he is released he meets Johnny Lorgen (Tom Drake) a new arrival at the prison farm where the trustees reside. Breedin cuts Lorgen down a notch or two, but by the time Breedin leaves he and Lorgen part friends, with Breedin inviting him to look him up once he gets out.
And then a break - An oil company wants to pay Breedin 250K for his farm because it is loaded with oil. Now Breedin can live the life of a gentleman - he's been studying up on how to act in society and now he can practice. He rents a penthouse, and you can take the man out of the Bowery, but you can't take the Bowery out of the man. At one point Jim buys a fancy Queen Anne table and puts it in the center of a practically empty room, trying to figure out what to do with it. It turns out he just got it because it was a classy thing to have.
Now Jim knows his wife is long dead, but he has desperately been searching for his daughter whose whereabouts are a mystery. Now for the suspense part of the film - Matt Enley (Leon Ames) who let Jim take the entire rap for the bank job they pulled can't figure out where Jim's money has come from. He thinks that the money could be from a heist that they pulled and that Jim has hidden it away all of these years. Thus he hires a hardened actress to play the part of Jim's long lost daughter, now all grown up, to get close to Jim and find the money. Jim takes to the girl right away, immediately accepting her as his daughter, and although the imposter seems like a dame with a wallet for a heart at first, she is warming to this craggy mountain of a man who has a gooey center and generous nature.
To complicate things, Johnny Lorgen gets out of the pen and comes to see Jim but to him, it is Jim's "daughter" who is the vision. The feelings are mutual. But Johnny wants to continue on with a life of crime and so Jim will have none of these two being a couple. To top it all off, the feds are following Jim waiting for him to pull another job.
Well this could turn out to be a comedy or a tragedy, and up to the end you won't be sure which it is - Beery excels at both. A nice touch is Gladys George as Madge Parkson, Breedin's new girlfriend. She's brassy on the outside and - well, OK, she's brassy on the inside too, but she's good for and to Jim.
I'll let you see how this all plays out. It certainly exceeded my expectations, as when I first turned it on I expected a paint by numbers MGM programmer. It's much better than that.
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