A recently released thief trying to go straight wanders the streets on Christmas Eve. He stops a lonely young woman from jumping in the river to commit suicide and in the process makes a couple friends and learns the spirit of the season.
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It's Christmas Eve in New York City. Jimmy Dugan, nicknamed Fingers, is an ex-con just released from prison. He doesn't have much Christmas spirit, believing it to be a holiday now geared toward consumerism, he having no money to buy anything. The police are tailing him believing he will revert back to his criminal ways. In his movements today, Jimmy is able to save a young woman from committing suicide. She tells him that her not wanting to live is because the Christmas season only intensifies her feeling of loneliness, she having no one in the world, especially as she doesn't know where her boyfriend, who she loves, is. Jimmy wants to help her at least have a hot meal this day. As such, he needs to go back to his criminal ways to get the money to buy that meal. In the process, Jimmy may inadvertently help himself in discovering a spirit of Christmas. Written by
This very early sound short is a Christmas story with a very distinct Warner Brothers cops and robbers feel to it. Jimmy "Fingers" Dugan, a petty thief and robber, stops a young woman from jumping off the pier to her death on Christmas Eve. After he talks to her he finds out she is destitute and she is also forlorn because she cannot find the man she loves - he has moved and she is alone on Christmas Eve. When Jimmy finds out she is hungry he decides to commit armed robbery to get the money to feed her. Odd how he would be so kind to one stranger and terrorize another. But a local beat cop has been keeping a close eye on Jimmy. How will all of this turn out? Watch and find out.
The big Christmas present for the viewer is Pat O'Brien in his first film appearance as the cop - an uncredited appearance at that. The two credited leads, Eric Dressler as Jimmy the thief and Lenita Lane as the lonely woman, never really made it in films, although they do a splendid job here. Eric Dressler made only one other appearance - in a short entitled "Envy" - and disappeared from film for 23 years. Lenita Lane worked until the early 1950's, but always in uncredited appearances or very small roles.
The short is very inspirational, with a great message about life's possibilities that seem much more likely at Christmas, but what a big deal it would be to watch today if Jimmy the thief had been played by James Cagney and the forlorn woman by Joan Blondell. They had both just arrived at Warner Brothers - it could have happened.
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