St. Benny the Dip

St. Benny the Dip is a 1951 American comedy film directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. The film is also known as Escape If You Can in the United Kingdom.

St. Benny the Dip
Directed byEdgar G. Ulmer
Produced byEdward J. Danziger (producer)
Harry Lee Danziger (producer)
Written byGeorge Auerbach (story)
John Roeburt (writer)
StarringDick Haymes
Nina Foch
Roland Young
Music byRobert W. Stringer
CinematographyDon Malkames
Benny Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • August 24, 1951 (1951-08-24) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film opens with one of the few depictions of the East River maritime area of New York City many years before it became the South Street Seaport tourist attraction. It was the last acting role of the former child star Freddie Bartholomew.

Plot summary

Benny (Dick Haymes), Monk (Lionel Stander) and Matthew (Roland Young) are three small-time crooks trying to escape a police dragnet in New York City. After hiding in a church and taking minister's suits and dog collars, they emerge, dressed as priests, and find shelter in an abandoned Bowery mission. When beat cops mistake them for real ministers sent to restore the soup kitchen, they are forced to go along with repairs, holding services and feeding the poor. They have to decide whether to stay, steal the mission money and run, or... change their lives. As with Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, when the bishop he has robbed lets him go, it is the first time they have been treated with respect and had a chance to do good work. The question is whether the police detectives or junior priests will turn them in before they even have a chance.



I Believe
Words and Music by Robert W. Stringer

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