Larceny, Inc. (1942): Gangster Film with Comic Touches, Starring Edward G. Robinson

Lloyd Bacon directed this hybrid of gangster-comedy, based on the play “The Night Before Christmas” by Laura and S.J. Perelman.

In a change of pace from his better-known gangster roles of the 1930s, Edward G. Robinson plays convict J. Chalmers “Pressure” Maxwell, who decides to go straight.

Before getting released from Sing Sing prison along, with his accomplice Jug Martin (Broderick Crawford), he rejects a proposal by inmate Leo Dexter (Anthony Quinn) to rob a bank.

Maxwell hopes to purchase a dog racing track in Florida and become a legit businessman with Denny Costello (Jane Wyman), his adopted daughter.

When his loan request is rejected by the bank, he decides to rob it. He buys the adjacent store from Homer Bigelow (Harry Davenport), and begins digging a tunnel in the basement.

Meanwhile, slick salesman Jeff Randolph (Jack Carson) convinces Weepy to order pieces of luggage for the store. When Denny discovers Pressure’s scheme,¬† she creates advertising campaign to bring customers, forcing the digging to stop.

The store flourishes, and the bank offers to purchase it from them. When Leo learns that Pressure has stolen his idea, he breaks out of jail, forcing them to rob it.

Leo tries to escape, but is caught by the police.¬†Denny accepts Jeff’s marriage proposal, and Pressure makes plans to build the first store in a future chain.

Cast
Edward G. Robinson as J. Chalmers “Pressure” Maxwell
Jane Wyman as Denny Costello
Broderick Crawford as Jug Martin
Jack Carson as Jeff Randolph
Anthony Quinn as Leo Dexter
Edward Brophy as Weepy Davis
Harry Davenport as Homer Bigelow
John Qualen as Sam Bachrach
Grant Mitchell as Mr. Aspinwall
Jackie Gleason as Soda Shop Clerk

Released: May 2, 1942.