Illegal

  • 1955
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

The plot is straight out of the 1930s Warner Bros. scriptorium, but Robinson's dynamic personality lifts this crime melodrama up out of the gutter. He's a district attorney with a conscience who, when he learns that he's sent an innocent man to the electric chair, takes to drink. His married assistants, Foch and Marlowe, urge him to quit prosecuting people...read more

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The plot is straight out of the 1930s Warner Bros. scriptorium, but Robinson's dynamic personality lifts this crime melodrama up out of the gutter. He's a district attorney with a conscience who, when he learns that he's sent an innocent man to the electric chair, takes to drink. His

married assistants, Foch and Marlowe, urge him to quit prosecuting people and become a criminal defense lawyer. Robinson agrees and takes on Dekker, a notorious racketeer, as his first client. Slowly, Robinson learns that Dekker has operated high, wide, and handsome for years because he's had

inside information from Robinson's own former office leaked to him. Robinson discovers that Marlowe is the highly paid informer. When Robinson's investigation gets too close, Marlowe tries to kill Foch, who has been helping Robinson uncover the conspiracy. Foch, however, shoots and kills her

lethal spouse. Robinson defends her, which enrages Dekker, who warns Robinson to drop the case. When the intrepid lawyer goes ahead, Dekker has him shot. With typical theatrics that only Robinson could render, he enters the courtroom wounded, dragging in busty, hip-swaying Mansfield, Dekker's

former mistress. On the witness stand Mansfield tells all, clearing Foch and ruining Dekker. Scriptwriter Burnett based the story on the play and 1932 film MOUTHPIECE, but also liberally borrowed from THE MAN WHO TALKED TOO MUCH (1940) and his own THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950) in assembling this

absorbing if predictable tale. Mansfield's role is mercifully short, although she would linger in Hollywood to appear in another Robinson opus, HELL ON FRISCO BAY, made the same year.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The plot is straight out of the 1930s Warner Bros. scriptorium, but Robinson's dynamic personality lifts this crime melodrama up out of the gutter. He's a district attorney with a conscience who, when he learns that he's sent an innocent man to the electri… (more)

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