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A Slight Case of Murder

(1938 b 85')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Damon Runyon and Harold Lindsay, a bootlegger goes legit after Prohibition and loses money; he takes on an orphan; his daughter is engaged to a cop; and his men find a dead gang in his house.

When Prohibition ends, Remy Marco (Edward G. Robinson) says he is going legitimate and throws away his men's guns. He tells his wife Nora (Ruth Donnelly), who says their daughter's school must be paid. People don't buy Marco's beer. Four years later his daughter Mary (Jane Bryan) comes home. Bankers Post (John Litel) and Ritter tell Marco he must pay the $460,000. Marco goes back to his orphanage to take a kid for a month and asks for the worst, who is Douglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom (Bobby Jordan). Dutch's gang stole $500,000 and is going to get rid of Innocence, who shoots the four of them while they are waiting for Marco. Mary's fiancé Dick Whitewood (Willard Parker) is a state trooper and is avoided by Marco. Sam tells Marco that the bookies' money was stolen. Douglas spills beer on the piano. Mike (Allen Jenkins) tells Marco he found four men shot dead. They decide where to take the bodies. Nora learns that the trooper is Dick, and Mary learns that Dick is a trooper. Mike carries Douglas upstairs to bed. Marco tells Dick to get out but finds out he is engaged to Mary.

Mike, Gip (Harold Huber), and Lefty (Edward Brophy) read of a reward for the bandits and go out to get the bodies back. Douglas hits Innocent with a slingshot. Mary and Dick take Dick's father Whitewood (Paul Harvey) to meet her parents at a party. Whitewood sees Lefty carrying in a body. Post calls Marco that they are foreclosing his brewery. Marco tells Nora he is broke. Douglas finds the bag of money under his bed. Marco tells Whitewood he approves the marriage and offers him partnership for half a million; but Whitewood tells Marco his beer is rotten. Marco tastes it and finds it is bad. He makes Lefty, Gip, and Mike drink it and learns that Douglas found the money. Marco calls Post to come over. Sam finds a money wrapper and tells Dick to arrest Marco. Lefty tells Marco that the bodies are in the room with Whitewood. Dick calls the police. Post sees the money and offers to renew the note, and Marco signs it. Whitewood finds the gang in the closet and screams. Marco turns the money in to Dick and tells him to shoot the men in the closet. Police say that Innocent was also wounded, and the case is solved.

This satire of gangsters trying to alter their way of life finds them failing because no one tells the boss his beer is terrible. The couple tries to be more respectable but needs an education. The problem is reflected in the juvenile delinquent they adopt and in their interactions with gangsters.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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