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When motorcycle cop Dick Fay gives a ticket to Phyllis Crawford, her father's graft-fed influence leads to his demotion to foot patrolman. When Fay leads a raid on a gangster's place he discovers Phyllis there, helps her escape, then blackmails her father.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Sally Eilers really is a very "Bad Girl" in this film
Spencer Tracy plays motorcycle cop Dick Fay who believes that how you get ahead on the force is to always play it straight, never take bribes. This costs him, and he knew it would - to an extent. For example he decides that a parade of "lumber trucks" looks suspicious and decides to investigate. The gangster who is in charge of getting the "lumber" to its destination offers him a big bribe. Dick says no go and pursues the caravan. However, the ruffian accompanying the gangster decides to run Tracy down with his car. The ruffian pays for this deed via he gangster in charge, and Fay recovers, still on the straight and narrow.
But then he pulls over Phyllis Crawford who is zooming down the highway and then leads him on a high speed pursuit. He drags her to jail with her claiming she'll get even. She does. Daddy has the pull to have her charges dropped and Dick demoted to patrolman and transferred to another precinct. The man in charge there is straight arrow Captain Tom Manning (Ralph Bellamy), who never looked better. Meanwhile bitter Dick Fay has decided that the gangsters are right - that being on the take is the best way to get ahead. He takes big bribes from a guy running a local speakeasy to keep Manning and his men away, claiming there is nothing illegal going on and tipping the gangster off if they are on their way.
But then Manning figures out that Fay is crooked, locks him up for a few hours, and makes HIM lead the charge to raid the speakeasy. Complicating factors are that Phyllis is Manning's girl, the night of the raid she is at the speakeasy and makes one of her big tease come ons to a hard boiled guy that just won't take her no for an answer, and soon she finds herself implicated in a crime that not even daddy and all of his money can get her out of. Meanwhile the raided gangster feels betrayed by Fay and decides to get even Al Capone style.
How does this end? Pretty unbelievably if you ask me. This was the precode era and unjust endings were allowed, but everybody's response to things were just a little too "Sunnyside Up" if you pardon the expression. There is one exception - a very sad event that precipitates a change in Fay.
This is a good early performance by Tracy in a (largely) believable script. El Brendel shows up to bring a little levity to what is largely a very suspenseful tale, and Ralph Morgan is quite believable as Katherine's daddy, who has literally killed the girl's character with kindness. Oh, and he is also up to his neck in the illegal rackets that the police are fighting.
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