Saturday 13 January 2024

Movie Review: Larceny, Inc. (1942)

Genre: Crime Comedy  
Director: Lloyd Bacon  
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Broderick Crawford, Edward Brophy, Jane Wyman, Jack Carson, Anthony Quinn  
Running Time: 95 minutes  

Synopsis: In New York, professional thief J. Chalmers "Pressure" Maxwell (Edward G. Robinson) claims he wants to go straight for the sake of his adopted daughter Denny (Jane Wyman). But to do so he needs to raise funds, so Pressure and his buddies Jug (Broderick Crawford) and Weepy (Edward Brophy) buy a struggling luggage store and secretly plan to break into the next-door bank through the cellar. Meanwhile luggage salesman Jeff (Jack Carson) is invested in the store's success, while ruthless criminal Leo (Anthony Quinn) wants to break into the same bank, both disrupting Pressure's agenda.

What Works Well: Sharp writing, a trio of lovable rogues, and a fast-moving plot about tripping over a good thing make for an entertaining romp. Edward G. Robinson has a blast as an ex-convict with a kind heart, and he is ably supported by Broderick Crawford and Edward Brophy as two loyal but non-too-bright sidekicks. Within the compact running time director Lloyd Bacon inserts a breezy romance between adopted daughter Denny and hustling luggage merchant Jeff, plus commentary about street politics and Christmas season sales tactics. Anthony Quinn is the one serious presence as the gnarling goon with a perpetual chip on his shoulder.

What Does Not Work As Well: The first act is slow, and some of the comedy slips into repetitive silliness. 

Conclusion: Nothing succeeds like excess baggage.

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