Archive for Steve Brodie

The Saggy D.A.

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2015 by dcairns

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Let me see… I saw CRIMINAL COURT, an early RKO Robert Wise B-movie (but not produced by Val Lewton — interesting how largely bland that makes it), and quite enjoyed it (Fiona: “I’m loving the plot in this!”) but a day or two later it’s sort of dissipated from my mind. What do I recall?

Tom Conway is a hotshot lawyer, a defence attorney who’s about to run for DA on an integrity ticket (that’s a thing, right?). He’s obtained hidden camera footage of gangster’s brother Steve Brodie delivering bribes, which he runs for guests at a party — he gives great parties: canapes, cocktails and incriminating evidence. But he gets a call from the top mobster (Robert Armstrong — King Kong’s boss) threatening him, so sneaks out while the projector is whirring and visits the guy at his swank nightclub (all gangsters run swank nightclubs). During a scuffle, the gangster draws a gun, Conway slugs him, the gun goes off, and the gangster is killed. Oh, wait, Conway actually slugs him FIRST, then wallops him a second time when the gun is drawn. Right.

Conway returns to his party and nobody has missed him — he has the perfect alibi. But his girlfriend (Martha O’Driscoll) works as a torch singer at the gangster’s club — I know! — and she walks in, picks up the gun, says, “I shot him!” in a loud voice and then “No!” in a quiet voice, and gets herself arrested. NEVER do this. “I shot him,” is something you should definitely not say at a crime scene, unless it’s true. It confuses people.

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What with his integrity and everything, Conway confesses as soon as he realizes his gf is in the frame. But everyone is so used to his courtroom antics — oh yeah, he pulls stunts like drawing a pistol and panicking the court in order to show what happens when people see a gun — that nobody will believe him. He has the perfect alibi, is a known play-actor, and his girlfriend looks unbelievably guilty.

BUT Conway’s secretary has been secretly working for the mob boss, and was secretly present the night of the self-defense/accidental killing, and secretly witnessed it all through a secret hole in the wall. Conway realizes this when she betrays knowledge of the incident she couldn’t otherwise have, forces her to testify, and then has Steven Brodie and his accomplices nabbed when they try to rub her out.

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There, that wasn’t so bad. My senility isn’t as advanced as I feared. Conway is free to marry the girl, and everyone is so impressed by his integrity that he’s now a shoe-in for D.A. Killing that guy and running away won’t hurt his chances at all — if anything, everyone likes him better than they did before.

Hmm, have I got that right?

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