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Larceny, Inc.

(1942 b 95')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Laura and S. J. Perelman, two released convicts buy a luggage store to dig into a bank, but a friend helps the business succeed.

"Pressure" Maxwell (Edward G. Robinson) and Jug Martin (Broderick Crawford) play baseball for Sing Sing and decline to attempt escape with Leo (Anthony Quinn). Pressure and Jug are released and are greeted by Denny Costello (Jane Wyman). On the street they see Weepy Davis (Edward Brophy), who says their slot machines were destroyed. Pressure needs $25,000 for a dog track and goes to a bank to borrow it but can't. Pressure has Weepy case the cellar of a luggage store next door as a gas meter man. Pressure offers to buy the luggage store of Homer Bigelow (Harry Davenport). Pressure asks Jug to get hit by a car. They get $1,000 and buy the luggage store. Jeff Randolph (Jack Carson) sells Weepy his line of luggage. Jug digs in the cellar and breaks a water pipe. Denny comes in. Jeff arrives with the luggage shipment and gives Pressure three months to pay. Pressure sells a bag to a customer and quickly wraps it. At a soda fountain Hobart (Jackie Gleason) watches as Jeff to save time asks Denny to marry, but she says no. Denny learns that Jug is digging into the bank, and she complains to Pressure, who sends her out with Jeff. Neighbors led by Sam Bachrach (John Qualen) ask Pressure to get the contractor to fix the street. Pressure goes to him and tells him privately to do nothing. Denny and Jeff keep customers coming to the store by advertising sales.

When the street is fixed, the store is closed for alterations. The banker Aspinwall (Grant Mitchell) offers to buy the store for $12,000, but Pressure wants more money. Jug strikes oil, but Pressure says it is the fuel tank. They catch Smitty (Joe Downing) trying to rob them, and Pressure gives him a bag. Grateful neighbors bring Pressure gifts. Smitty tells Leo in prison about the bank. Denny says they made $535 profit in one day at the re-opening. Pressure says he likes the honest business. Leo comes in, sees the hole, and orders them to rob the bank. Pressure tells Aspinwall he will accept his $15,000 offer, but Aspinwall won't pay him right away. Bigelow comes back, and Pressure tells him to bring $3,000. Leo and Smitty prepare to blast into the vault on Christmas Eve. Jug as Santa Claus is rude and is knocked out. Pressure replaces him. Bigelow gives Pressure the money, and Smitty knocks out Bigelow. Leo blasts a hole, flees with a bag, and is caught by police. The store is on fire, and Pressure carries out Bigelow. In the final scene Pressure shows Jug and Weepy his plan for a new store. Jug refuses to be hit by a car, but Pressure is hit by a police car.

This comedy suggests that criminals can do better by exploiting people in business than by robbery.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

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