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The St. Louis Kid

(1934 b 70')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A truck-driver gets out of jail by siding with farmers but then is arrested for challenging their boycott and is accused of murder.

Buck (Allen Jenkins) bails Eddie Kennedy (James Cagney) out of the St. Louis jail after a fight. Their trucking boss Harris (Charles C. Wilson) gives them a load for Chicago. When they stop, Ann Reid (Patricia Ellis) runs into them. Brown (Addison Richards) knocks down Buck, and Eddie head-butts Brown, who has him arrested. Eddie learns that Brown squeezes farmers for milk. Buck borrows $50 from a bartender, but he gets arrested for drunk driving with two women. Eddie learns that Judge Jones (Arthur Aylesworth) is a farmer and blames greedy Brown, causing the judge to dismiss the cases. At a cafe Ann puts hot sauce on their breakfast. Driving away, Eddie breaks boxes of eggs. Ann comes to Harris to get paid for the eggs, and Eddie and Buck learn of the milk strike. Harris tells them to bring in milk from out of state. Their truck is stopped by farmers, who dump the milk and fight them. In court Judge Jones suspends the sentences of the farmers but gives Buck two days and Eddie ten days in jail.

Farmers blockade milk shipments. Harris asks Brown to get Eddie out of jail; but Brown blames Eddie, and Harris fires Eddie and Buck. Ann brings food to the jail, but they go on a hunger strike. Louie (Harry Woods) uses a gun to get past the farmer's blockade. Eddie gets the key and leaves jail to visit Ann. He turns away a customer and gets in Ann's car with her. He shows her he can dance and kisses her, softening her. Eddie makes a date and returns to jail. Farmer Benson (Robert Barrat) stops Louie's truck, and they fight. Louie shoots Benson as Ann arrives and screams. Eddie is accused of killing Benson, and Ann has disappeared. At a gas station Eddie starts a fire and escapes. He calls Buck, and police close in. Eddie gets in a truck and learns that gunmen were hired. Eddie goes after Louie and knocks him out. Listening to his phone call, Eddie gets an address and climbs in the window to find Ann; but they are stopped by a gunman and a woman, who calls Joe Hunter (William B. Davidson). Buck helps Eddie and Ann get away. They go to truckers, who help them fight Hunter and his men. In the final scene at a hotel Eddie and Ann register as Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy; but a detective catches them. Ann hits him, and they end up in jail.

This tough and funny melodrama is vintage Cagney with the feisty little guy taking on the hoodlums. Underlying the gangster story is the plight of workers such as truck-drivers and farmers, who can be easily exploited by the money interests.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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