The Law of Contact

Below the Deadline (June 8, 1936)

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Below the Deadline

Released on June 8, 1936: A girl working for a diamond importer in lower Manhattan and her policeman boyfriend are framed for robbery and murder, below the deadline of Canal Street.

Directed by Charles Lamont

The Actors: Cecilia Parker (Molly Fitzgerald), Russell Hopton (Terry Mulvaney), Theodore von Eltz (Flash Ackroyd), Thomas E. Jackson (Pearson), Warner Richmond (Diamond Dutch), John St. Polis (Mr. Abrams), Kathryn Sheldon (Aunt Mary Tibbett), Robert Homans (Police Captain Symonds), Jack Gardner (henchman Spike), Al Thompson (sparring partner Al), Charles Delaney (Artie Nolan), Sydney Payne (plastic surgeon), True Boardman (radio announcer), Phyllis Crane (Miss Jennings), Lester Dorr (Oscar), Robert Frazer (Detective Palmer), Henry Hall (train passenger), Henry Hebert (Mr. Everley), Edward LeSaint (judge), Charles McAvoy (officer Rooney), Arthur Millett (train guard), Francis Sayles (train conductor), Jack Shutta (chauffeur), Harry Strang (officer Bill).

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The Deadline is a line formed by Canal Street in Manhattan, and below that line is Wall Street and the financial district, and an area that holds the diamond importers. Molly Fitzgerald, a fine young Irish girl works for a diamond importer, and her boyfriend is Irish cop Terry Mulvaney. Molly's boss is about to receive a large shipment of diamonds, and then transport them to the midwest. Flash Ackroyd is a nightclub owner and lives on the shady side of the law. He decides that he wants to steal that diamond shipment, and he would like to get Molly as a girlfriend also. He robs the diamonds, and at the same time, colors his hair red and speaks with a thick Irish brogue, causing the diamond company owner to believe that Terry, Molly's cop boyfriend is part of the robbery. Meanwhile, Terry is lured down to the diamond district and mugged. By the time he recovers and walks up the street, the cops investigating the diamond robbery spot him and arrest him as the diamond robber. But Irish cop Terry is a smart fellow, and he escapes his copper buddies and goes on the run to try to clear his name. He hops a train to get out of town for a while, but the train wrecks, and Terry is believed to have died in the wreck.

Meanwhile, the cops, and especially a snoopy insurance investigator, believes that Molly must be involved with the robbery along with her boyfriend Terry, and they pressure her to come clean and confess. Because everyone believes that she helped in the robbery, she cannot find work, and is about to leave town herself, when Flash Ackroyd, the real diamond thief, comes to her place and offers her a job at his nightclub. She goes to work for him, not knowing that he is the fellow that impersonated her boyfriend Terry and killed the man at the diamond house.

Meanwhile, Terry is in the hospital, and needs plastic surgery which changes his nose enough that he might not be recognized as Terry. He gives the doctor a fake name and when he gets out of the hospital he dyes his red hair black and goes on the hunt for the real diamond theives in order to clear his name. The tension builds as the nosey insurance investigator discovers his real identity, and the pressure is increased when Molly turns down Flash Ackroyd's romantic advances. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with lots of warm melted butter, and enjoy a great cops and robbers thriller from 1936 New York City.