Movie Mirrors Index

Sergeant Madden

(1939 b 81')

En: 5 Ed: 6


A policeman's son becomes a hostile cop and turns to crime, causing conflict for his wife and father.

At a NYPD funeral a boy Albert is given his father's medal and is adopted by Sergeant Shaun Madden (Wallace Beery) and his wife Mary Madden (Fay Holden). Shaun finds an abandoned child and brings her home. Her mother comes in for the child, and the Maddens give her money to return to Ireland. Shaun has a bullied boy kick his boys Albert and Dennis (Dickie Jones).

Years later Dennis Madden (Alan Curtis) attends the police academy and is disciplined. Shaun and Albert (Tom Brown) greet Eileen (Laraine Day) at the boat and welcome her home. Eileen kisses Albert, and Dennis asks her for a kiss. Dennis graduates with a marksman award. Cop Dennis knocks down a kid and makes enemies. Piggy Ceders (Marc Lawrence) warns Shaun about Dennis. In Shaun's car Dennis takes Eileen for a ride and asks her to marry. She doesn't want to leave the Madden home, and he agrees. Dennis chases a young thief, is injured, and kills him. The captain reprimands Dennis and calls Shaun. Dennis finds Eileen singing with Albert. Shaun tells ambitious Dennis he is being transferred, and they argue. Dennis leaves, and Shaun advises Eileen to go. Charlotte wants her brother avenged, and Piggy hires Philadelphia (Horace McMahon) to get Dennis, who is knocked out and given liquor. Philadelphia confesses that he bribed drunk Dennis, who is sentenced to prison. Shaun calls on Piggy and says he framed Dennis. Shaun says Charlotte was with Philadelphia's lawyer, making Piggy jealous.

On the train Dennis escapes. Eileen disappears with Dennis, whose shoulder is injured. Eileen goes out for bandages, but the man at the drugstore calls the police while she goes to Albert, who gets Shaun. Dennis locks the door as Shaun tells him he will be freed by Piggy. When police arrive, Dennis goes out the window and shoots a cop. Shaun tells the commissioner he is retiring and says he could have shot Dennis before he killed the cop. Shaun learns that Dennis robbed a bank. Dennis shoots Piggy dead. Shaun and Albert visit Eileen before she gives birth. Shaun has police radio summon him to his grandchild to draw Dennis there. Shaun and police cadet Albert wait and see Dennis go in the back. Dennis sees Eileen and the baby. Albert comes in and warns Dennis about Shaun. Dennis tells Eileen that Albert loves her. A nurse sees Dennis, and he runs. Police arrive. Unarmed Shaun tells Dennis to drop his gun, but Dennis climbs a ladder and gets police to shoot him. The commissioner asks Shaun to tear up his retirement papers, and in the final scene Shaun tells Eileen her baby will be a policeman.

This drama about one of New York's finest sergeants shows the danger of a bullying policeman, who is contrasted to his humanitarian father.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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