Cast: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Marion Burns
SUMMARY: Danny Dolan (Spencer Tracy) is a police officer in New York City, whose patrol area is the waterfront. Danny and his partner often frequent Ed’s Chowder House, where Danny meets waitress Helen (Joan Bennett). Danny persistently flirts with Helen, who throws it back at him but starts to gradually warm up. One day, Danny and his partner are trying to deal with a drunk when the man falls into the river; after Danny fishes both him and his partner (who also fell in) out, he is rewarded with a promotion to detective. One of his first jobs in this new role is the investigation of a noise complaint. The noise is coming from an apartment that is holding a wedding party, and turns out to be the apartment of Helen’s father. Helen’s sister Kate (Marion Burns) has just gotten married to a naval officer, but unbeknownst to everyone but Helen, still has feelings for her old boyfriend. Unfortunately, Kate’s old boyfriend is mobster Duke Castanega, who has just returned to town. He has already visited Kate at the bank where she works, and proposed a scheme in which she gives him the numbers of the most valuable safety deposit boxes. Duke is briefly imprisoned, but manages to break out; however, he kills a man during his escape. He heads to Kate’s house to hide, and shortly thereafter commits the bank robbery. He continues to hide out at Kate’s house, but Helen figures out what is going on. Determined to get him out before Kate can be implicated, Helen rushes over to the house and tries to force him out. Only moments after Helen figured things out, Danny also did, and he also rushes over to the house. He confronts Duke in the attic; Duke shoots Danny in the arm before going through an attic skylight. However, Danny manages to recover and shoots Duke before he can flee. For capturing the wanted man, Danny is given a reward. When telling the story of the shootout, he tells his superior that he chased Duke into the apartment, thereby keeping Kate out of trouble. A short time later, Danny and Helen are married.
MY TAKE: I feel kinda bad saying this about Spencer Tracy, but this is a worthless movie. The plot is thin and is basically a rehash of an old theme (bumbling cop captures bad guy and wins girl), and there are a lot of crappy gags thrown in. In addition, the way the characters talk to each other is nearly indecipherable: I don’t know if this is just because slang is so different now, or because it’s just lame dialogue. It’s like they’re trying to sound smart and snappy, but it doesn’t work. I really don’t know why this movie is on the list (believe me, I double-checked), because it tanked when it was released, and it’s not one of those movies that has come to be regarded as a misunderstood masterpiece, like 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s just awful.