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Baby Face Harrington

(1935 b 62')

En: 5 Ed: 4


Based on a play by Edgar Selwyn and William LeBaron, a clerk is fired, loses money, robs to get it back, is robbed, arrested, and broken out of jail.

Willie Harrington (Charles Butterworth) and his wife Millicent (Una Merkel) attend a party at a country club. Ronald Lawford (Harvey Stephens) dances with Millicent, and Willie's egg trick breaks them all. At breakfast Millicent says she likes Ronald better and urges Willie to ask for a raise. Willie is fired and cashes in his insurance. Skinner (Donald Meek) urges Willie to invest. Willie goes to pay off his mortgage and realizes he lost his money. At home Willie tells Millicent and Ronald he got his vacation and a raise. Millicent shows the gun she got. Willie says he lost the $2,000 and goes to Skinner, taking his $2,000. At home Willie finds his $2,000 in the car and faints. Skinner tells Sergeant Henry Parker (Eugene Pallette) to arrest Willie, who calls his uncle Henry to explain.

Rocky Bannister (Nat Pendleton) sneaks in, grabs Millicent, and robs Willie of $4,000. Skinner says Willie is lying and insists Henry arrest him. Millicent calls friends to care for Willie's cold in jail. A newspaper plays up the story. Willie confessed and can't get bail. Murder Mullens (Stanley Fields) is put in the cell with Willie and calls him Baby Face. Two men break Mullens out of jail and make Willie go with them. Ronald tells Millicent that Willie was fired, but she stays loyal to Willie. Rocky slaps Willie and says he won't talk. Rocky plans a bank robbery with his gang, reminding Mullens to get gas. Rocky says he will rub out Willie, who puts a note in the gas tank. Willie reads that his wife is divorcing him and prepares to hang himself.

Mullens stops for gas, and the man reads the note and calls the police. At the bank Henry and the police arrest the gang. Willie and Rocky discuss knots and being Junior Woodmen. Rocky ties the rope to a beam, and Willie shoots at him. Rocky gets the gun and is about to kill Willie, who pleads for his life. As police arrive, Rocky tries to run; but the rope to Willie holds him back. Willie is cheered. Millicent cries for Willie, but she learns he is a hero and gets the reward. Willie gives a speech and goes to Millicent but is too shy to kiss her in public.

This comedy satirizes gangster movies as a humble clerk is taken first for a dangerous criminal and then a great hero.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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