Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Larceny, Inc. (1942)

LARCENY, INC., is the amusing tale of three ex-cons who plan the ultimate bank heist but then decide they'd rather be honest businessmen instead.

"Pressure" Maxwell (Edward G. Robinson) gets out of Sing-Sing alongside his dense-but-loyal aide Jug Martin (Broderick Crawford). The two men join forces with Weepy Davis (Edward Brophy) to buy out a luggage business which has a cellar adjoining the vault of the bank next door. The trio plan to dig their way into the vault...but then see their luggage business take off thanks to marketing efforts by Pressure's foster daughter (Jane Wyman) and an enthusiastic luggage salesman (Jack Carson).

Pressure and his gang plan to go straight, but then evil Leo (Anthony Quinn) gets out of the pen with the intent of carrying out the bank robbery. Matters reach a climax during a Christmas Eve finale which finds both Pressure and Jug trying to prevent the crime while dressed up in Santa Claus suits.

This is a cute, good-natured film based on a play by Laura and S.J. Perelman. Robinson is quite funny as the initially reluctant businessman who tries to shoo customers away from his store. He's ably supported by a deep supporting cast which also includes John Qualen, Harry Davenport, Barbara Jo Allen (Vera Vague), Jackie Gleason, and Grant Mitchell. The entire cast seems to be having a good time, and the audience does as well. The final Christmas sequence makes it a perfect film for viewing during the holiday season.

Wyman is really lovely in this film, teamed with her longtime costar Carson. Their other films together included PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943) and THE DOUGHGIRLS (1944).

This black and white movie was directed by Lloyd Bacon. It runs 95 minutes.

LARCENY, INC., was released on DVD as part of the Warner Gangsters Vol. 4 Collection. Extras include a commentary track by film historians Dana Polan and Haden Guest.

This film can also be seen on Turner Classic Movies.

July 2019 Update: LARCENY, INC. will be reissued on DVD by the Warner Archive in August 2019.


Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

I've been on a Edward G. Robinson kick lately so I definitely want to see this one. Thanks for the review. Adding it to my netflix queue now!

9:16 AM  

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