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Big-time racketeer Martin Martin, on the eve of his projected move into New York politics, barely escapes the District Attorney's men who attempt to arrest him for a murder committed five-years earlier by Martin and his former partner Dane Cory. Martin, who knows that Cory has copped a plea with the D.A. to save himself, arranges a meeting. At the meeting, Cory's henchman, Cute Freddie, shoots Martin and the latter kills Freddie. Cory hides in the Greenwich Village apartment of his girl friend, burlesque queen Lily White. With them is Lily's six-year-old daughter, Elsie, and her dog Skipper. Martin trails Cory, but weakened by his bullet wound, is forced to seek refuge in an abandoned building next to Lily's. Bad-to-the-bone Cory kicks Skipper and the dog finds shelter with Martin, where Elsie finds them sleeping. Martin is charmed by Elsie and the dog, whom he names Johnny One-Eye, and takes the animal to a vet who can't help the dog but does take the bullet slug out of Martin. ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If they'd ditched the kid, it would have improved the picture...
I like film noir--you know, told old gangster films from the 40s and 50s. This Damon Runyan story has almost all the earmarks of a good film noir movie...most. However, it also involves a cute kid and a schmaltzy storyline--something you'd NEVER find in a true example of noir.
When the film begins, two hoods, Cory (Wayne Morris) and Martin (Pat O'Brien) chase down a guy who stole $50,000 from them. In the process of getting it back, they are forced to shoot the guy. Years pass and the two crooks have gone separate ways. Martin has an aura of respectability about him and Cory is still a hood--a hood with a girlfriend who has a kid, Elsie. When someone goes to the police with information about the killing which occurred at the beginning of the film, Cory decides to rat on his old friend and offers to testify against him to save his butt. Not surprisingly, Martin is furious and is out to kill Cory when he finds out he's being betrayed.
All this sounds like perfect noir--a killing, betrayal and revenge. However, Elsie soon becomes involved in the case and the dopey kid thinks that Martin is Santa...yes, Santa. She tries to help him-- not only because of this but because her soon to be step-daddy is a sadist who beat her cute little dog. Even Martin isn't cold enough to do that and soon takes the pup under his care. What's next? Well, it ain't exactly kid-friendly and is interesting but the whole subplot involving the kid tended to take away the hard edge from this one--and I WANT a hard-edged story! All in all, not a bad film but also one that isn't exactly the best from the two stars. Without the kid and the dog, the story would have been a lot better.
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