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Danny Haley's bookie operation is shut down, so he and his pals need money; when Danny meets Arthur Winant, a sucker from out of town, he decoys him into a series of poker games where eventually Winant loses $5000 that isn't his...then hangs himself. But it seems Winant had a shadowy, protective elder brother who believes in personal revenge. And each of the card players in turn feels a faceless doom inexorably closing in. Dark streets and sexy torch-singer Fran lend ambience. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
(There are Spoilers) Charlton Heston known for the Biblical epics and movies with cast of thousands that he made during his fifty or so year career in motion pictures started out in his very first movie, back in 1950, in a little known film-noir curiosity piece playing a small-time hoodlum running a bookie joint in Chicago.
Having his gambling den raided three time in just over a month by the cops, even though he was paying them off, has Dan Haley, Charlton Heston,and his three fellow bookies Barney, Ed Bagely, Augie, Jack Webb, and Soldier, Henry Morgan, wonder if they should get into a much safer business like working a bar or being a croupier in a casino.
Trying to figure out where the next dollar is coming from Dan goes to the nightclub where his girlfriend Fran Garland, Lizabeth Scott,is doing a show and runs into out of town businessman Arthur Winant, Don DeFore. Seeing Winant pull out a number of big bills, including a $5,000.00 bank check, from his wallet as he paid for his drink Dan invites him for a game of cards at his now closed down bookie joint with his friends Barney Augie & Soldier. Winning $350.00 from the four book-makers Arthur is invited back the next evening, his last day in Chicago, for another card game with the four wanting another chance to win back their money.
This time around the bookies were ready for Winant and had the cards rigged, or marked, wiping the poor guy out of everything he had including his $5,000.00 bank check, which Winant signed over to them, which didn't even belong to him. Sick depressed and heart broken Winant goes back to his hotel room and hangs himself. It turns out that Arthur Winart's older brother Sidney, Mike Mazurki, found his body and called the police but Sidney didn't wait around for them to show up, he went out looking for those who drove his brother to kill himself, Dan Barney Augie & Soldier, and pay them back in kind.
Superior film-noir thriller with Sidney Winant, who spent a number of years in a mental institution for the criminally insane, out hunting down and killing those responsible for his brothers, Arthur, death and going from Chicago to Los Angeles to Las Vages to do it. Murdering Barney in Chicago and making it look like he killed himself, by hanging, Sidney has the remaining bookies on the run not even knowing What he, Sidney Winant, even looks like.
Both Dan & Augie travel to Los Angeles to see the late Arthur's wife Victoria, Viveca Lindfors, to get a photo of Sidney to be able to spot him before he attacks and murders them. Dan saying that he's an insurance investigator and that Victoria and Sidney are to receive a $10,000.00 policy that Arthur made out to them can't get a photo of Sidney since Victoria burnt all the photos she had of him wanting to keep him out of her memory forever, he's a dangerous homicidal lunatic she tells Dan.
Dan for his part starts to fall in love with Victoria and want's to give her back the check that her dead husband Arthur signed over to him. When Dan tell's her that he's one of the people who cheated him out of his money, that lead to his suicide, she rejected both Dan and the check.Back in his L.A motel room Dan finds that Sidney got to Augie, while he was at Victoria's house, with him hanging in the shower with a rope tied around his neck.
The movie then moves to Las Vagas with Dan on the run getting a job as a card dealer at his friends Swede's, Walter Sande, casino and meeting his fellow bookie Soldier and his girlfriend from the "Windy City" Fran who both were working there. Sidney finding out that Dan is in Vegas from Victoria's young son Billy, Mark Keuning,makes his way down there from L.A. Victoria then unexpectedly calls Dan and warns him about her brother-in-law finding out where he is has the police using Dan as bait set a trap for the big gorilla, Sidney is well over six feet tall and weighs about 270 pounds. The plan almost backfires when Sidney get's to Dan before they, the police,can get there in time to save Dan's life.
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