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Joe Norson, a poor letter carrier with a sweet, pregnant wife, yields to momentary temptation and steals $30,000 belonging to a pair of ruthless blackmailers who won't stop at murder. After a few days of soul-searching, Joe offers to return the money, only to find that the "friend" he left it with has absconded. Now every move Joe makes plunges him deeper into trouble, as he's pursued and pursuing through the shadowy, sinister side of New York. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The drugstore that Joe Norson calls from is the set of another MGM "film noir", Tension (1949), which was shooting at approximately the same time. See more »
Capt. Walter Anderson:
New York City: an architectural jungle where fabulous wealth and the deepest squalor live side by side. New York is the busiest, the loneliest, the kindest, and the cruelest of cities - a murder a day, every day of the year and each murder will wind up on my deak.
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**SPOILERS** Film that shows that even the most honest of us can get a little crazy when financial conditions warrant.
Part-time letter carrier Joe Norson, Farley Granger, has dreams about him and his wife living the life of luxury and traveling the world over in style. In reality Joe is down on his luck barely able to support himself with his job, as a part-time flexible, in the Post office much less his wife Ellen, Cathy O'Donnell, and a little one on the way. Delivering mail to attorney Victor Backett, Edmon Ryan, one morning Joe notices two $100.00 bills fall out of a folder from Backett's filing cabinet; all of a sudden a bell rang in Joe's head.
The next day Joe again delivering mail to Backett notices the office door opened and the place empty. Joe sees his chance to take the two hundred dollars in Backetts file cabinet and use it to pay for his wife and soon to be born child's medical expenses. Finding the cabinet locked Joe goes outside and see an ax, for the use if there's a fire, in the hallway and uses it to break into it and take the folder that he saw the money in the day before.
On an empty roof-top Joe, to his utter surprise, sees that the folder doesn't contain just the $200.00 that he thought was in it but $30,000.00 in cold hard cash. What Joe is soon to find out is that the money is a blackmail payment from Emil Lorrison, Paul Harvey, that Backett and his co-blackmailer "Big George" Garsell, James Craig, took from the other blackmailer working with them party girl "Lucky" Lucille Colner, Adele Jergens. It was "Lucky" Lucille who's body was found floating in the East River that morning.
Joe guilt-ridden at what he did tries to return the stolen cash but doesn't know quite just how without ending up behind bars for grand larceny. It's then that Joe gives the secretly wrapped-up cash to bar owner Gus Heldon, John Gallaudet, for safe keeping telling him that it's a gift for is wife Ellen. Joe later goes to see Backett to somehow get him to take his money back but Backett tells Joe he has no idea what he's talking about! The 30 grand is hot and unknowing to Joe can lead whoever has it straight to the electric chair for the murder of "Lucky" Lucille.
The move "Side Street" then takes on the form of a man on the run from both the hoods after him to not only get their money back but rub Joe out to keep him from talking to the police with the cop also looking for Joe as a suspect in the murder of barkeeper Gus who "Big George" tracked down and strangled in order to get the blackmail money back.
Joe needing proof that he had nothing to do with Gus' murder finds a photo of "Big George's" former girlfriend Harriette Sinton, Jean Hagen, in the stolen folder. Tracking Hrriette down to the Les Artisets nightclub, where she's working as a singer, Joe does his best to get her to open up about the "Big" man telling Harriette that he's a old friend of "Big George" and would like to know where he lives. Noticing Joe going through her purse as she went backstage to change Harriett, smelling a rat, calls "Big George" thus setting Joe up to be ambushed.
Exciting final as Joe is knocked out kidnapped and about to be deep-sixth in the East River by "Big George" and his partner taxi driver Larry Giff, Harry Belaver. There's a hair-raising ride through the Wall Street as well as the Washington Park section, that was later demolished to make way for the tragic World Trade Center complex, in downtown Manhattan with the cops hot on "Big George" and Larry's tail.
Joe who's sense of honesty almost cost him his life, and his young wife Ellen the loss of a sweet and caring husband and breadwinner, in the end not only becomes a father and future role model to his new born son but also a hero in the eyes of the people of New York City as well.
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