Larceny, Inc.

Larceny, Inc. is an American film. Originally released on May 2, 1942 by Warner Bros., the film is a cross between comedy and gangster genres. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the film stars Edward G. Robinson, Jane Wyman, Broderick Crawford, and Jack Carson, and features Anthony Quinn, and Edward Brophy.

Larceny, Inc.
1942 theatrical poster
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Screenplay byEverett Freeman
Edwin Gilbert
Based onThe Night Before Christmas
1941 play
by Laura Perelman
S.J. Perelman
StarringEdward G. Robinson
Jane Wyman
Broderick Crawford
Jack Carson
Anthony Quinn
Music byAdolph Deutsch
CinematographyTony Gaudio
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • April 24, 1942 (1942-04-24)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The film is based on the play The Night Before Christmas by Laura Perelman and S.J. Perelman.

Plot

Suave convict J. Chalmers "Pressure" Maxwell (Edward G. Robinson) decides to go straight. Just before he is released from Sing Sing prison along with his none-too-bright accomplice Jug Martin (Broderick Crawford), he rejects a proposal by fellow inmate Leo Dexter (Anthony Quinn) to rob a bank.

Maxwell hopes to purchase a dog racing track in Florida and become a legitimate businessman with Denny Costello (Jane Wyman), his adopted daughter. However, he lacks the funds necessary. When his loan request is rejected by the bank (the same one Leo planned to rob), he decides to rob the place. Noticing a luggage shop next door, he buys the store from Homer Bigelow (Harry Davenport). He has Jug and their friend Weepy Davis (Edward Brophy) start digging a tunnel in the basement.

Meanwhile, slick salesman Jeff Randolph (Jack Carson) convinces Weepy to order several dozen pieces of luggage to stock the store. Soon afterward, Jeff falls in love with Denny. When Denny discovers Pressure's scheme, she gets Jeff to create various advertising gimmicks that bring in a flood of customers, forcing a stop to the noisy digging and showing the crooks that legitimate sales can be profitable.

The store flourishes, and the bank next door offers to purchase it from them to expand its space. Pressure is ready to accept the offer, but when Leo learns that Pressure has stolen his idea, he breaks out of jail to take over. Due to the success of the luggage business, Pressure has abandoned the robbery plan, but Leo forces them to go through with it.

Leo plans on breaking into the vault on Christmas Eve with dynamite. Complicating matters, Homer Bigelow reappears, nostalgic for his store. He gets knocked out, but manages to press the burglar alarm. Leo panics and reaches for his gun, but Pressure intervenes, and then he is knocked unconscious. Leo tries to escape, only to be caught by the police. The store erupts in flames, but Pressure revives and manages to drag Homer Bigelow outside, becoming a hero.

Denny accepts Jeff's marriage proposal. Pressure makes plans to build a new store, the first in a chain.

Cast

Analysis

The plot of Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks is similar to the plot of Larceny, Inc..[1] Allen never has commented on whether this was deliberate or if his film was in any way inspired by Larceny, Inc..

Robinson took the role of Pressure Maxwell in this film to offset his "tough guy" image as established in his many appearances as gangsters or police officers in previous Warner Bros. films.[1]

The film features many members of the Warner Bros. "stock company" and included an early film appearance by Jackie Gleason as a drug store soda jerk.

References

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