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Larceny, Inc. (1942)

Edward G. Robinson ended his original Warner Bros. contract with a spoof of the roles that had made him a star. As adept at comedy as he was at heavy drama, he scores a personal success in this caper film helmed by versatile director Lloyd Bacon, aided by a great supporting cast including Harry Davenport, John Qualen, Barbara Jo Harris, and a very funny Jackie Gleason.

Robinson and Broderick Crawford are criminals just released from prison. They want to go straight and open a dog-racing track, but when they can’t get financing legally, Robinson borrows a scheme from fellow convict Anthony Quinn. He finagles his way into buying a luggage store next to a bank so he and Crawford can tunnel into the vault after hours. What he doesn’t count on is that his adopted daughter (Jane Wyman) and an enterprising luggage salesman (Jack Carson) will turn the store into a major success, or that Quinn will break out of prison to demand a piece of the action.

This was the third gangster spoof Robinson made with Bacon, following A Slight Case of Murder (1938) and Brother Orchid (1940). It would set him up for more varied roles as he went freelance, including the Norwegian farmer in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), the cashier duped by Joan Bennett in Scarlet Street (1945), and most notably, the insurance investigator in Double Indemnity (1944).

d. Lloyd Bacon, 95m, 35mm

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics and Park Circus LLC