Good crime movie directed by Don Siegel and starring Ida Lupino who also co-wrote the screenplay. A lot of familiar faces along the way.
In New York a bank messenger is killed and robbed of two hundred thousand dollars. A year later L.A. cop Cal Bruner (Steve Cochran) is passing a drug store at night. He looks in and sees two men robbing the place. He sneaks in, kills one and arrests the other (King Donovan).
One of the fifty dollar bills is hot and traced back to the New York robbery. The druggist (Richard Deacon) tells Bruner, his partner Jack Farnham (Howard Duff) and their boss Capt.Michaels (Dean Jagger) where it came from.
Bruner and Farnham go to a bar and question the bartender (Dabbs Greer). He says the bars’ singer Lilli Marlowe (Ida Lupino) gave it to him. She says it was a tip from a customer. At first she doesn’t want to but agrees to help track the man down. More hot bills have been passed at the track. She wanders around trying to spot the man while Bruner and Farnham keep an eye on her.
After several days she spots him. Bruner and Farnham hop in their car and chase him down. The man crashed through a road closed sign and went over an embankment. He’s a goner. Money starts pouring out of a box. They pick it up and Farnham gets a look in his eye but puts it in the box. Bruner grabs eighty grand of it.
Farnham doesn’t want anything to do with it but Bruner rents a trailer (#36) and stashes the cash. By now Bruner and Lili are involved. Farnham is drinking too much and constantly arguing with his wife Francey (Dorothy Malone). A delivery boy (Jimmy Hawkins) comes to Farnham’s and is full of hero worship after seeing his picture in the paper.
At the police station a cop makes a joke hinting that Farnham kept some of the money and gets punched out for his attempt at humor. Captain Michaels calls Farnham and Bruner into his office and points out a mistake they made. A bit later he says the man must have had a partner.
Farnham is really falling apart now. That night Bruner gets a call from the hood demanding his money. Bruner tells Lilli they should go to Mexico. She doesn’t know it but he plans to sell the money there.
It all comes to a nice wrap up and is well worth checking out.
In the very beginning the body in the elevator is Chester Conklin, one of the original Keystone Kops. His acting career ranged from 1913-60. Not much to do in this one but lay there.