Monday, June 21, 2021

They All Come Out

I've mentioned MGM's Crime Does Not Pay series on several occasions. A movie that has an interesting relationship to those shorts is They All Come Out, which will be airing at 10:00 AM Tuesday (June 22).

The movie starts off with US Attorney General Homer Cummings (the man who was the inspiration for the Fox docudrama Boomerang!) giving a brief statement about the job of the federal penitentiary system being to rehabilitate criminals. We then cut to the real action. Kitty (Rita Johnson) is in the south, talking on the phone with Reno (Bernard Nedell). He's the leader of a gang, and she cases banks letting him know about the security situation so that it will be easier for them to get away with robbing the banks.

While she's driving home from casing the bank, she runs into a down-on-his-luck man Joe (Tom Neal). He's a perpetual vagrant, having injured his hand in an industrial accident that left him unable to do the manual labor he had done to that point. But he's got a way with cars, and when there's a problem with Rita's car, he's able to fix it. He's also able to take over some of the driving back to Reno's place. (Rita doesn't die on Neal unlike the car owner in Detour.)

You can guess what happens next, which is that Rita suggests Joe's name when Reno needs a reliable and good driver. So Joe gets sucked into the gang, having no other job, and becomes an excellent getaway driver. Until the gang gets caught with the members being sent to various federal prisons. Rita is sent to a women's prison where they're going to try to rehabilitate her back into the beautician trade; Joe is given free surgery which will allow him to resume his manual labor.

However, it's not going to be smooth sailing once they get out of prison. Reno had buried the money from the last bank heist, and wants that money back. Joe wants to make good on his second chance and doesn't plan to get that money for Reno. And he sure doesn't plan to tell anybody else. Rita, on the other hand, has the problem of the media coming around to report on her, which is bad business for anybody who would otherwise have the sympathy to hire her.

They All Come Out isn't a bad movie, but it does suffer from the flaws that I tend to see in MGM's B movies. In doing this blog, I've sen a whole bunch of B movies, and Warner's B movies are generally much more interesting than MGM's. Where Warner engaged in social commentary, MGM was very much a law-and-order promoter, as seen from the whole Crime Does Not Pay series. The movie plays out as a bunch of propaganda for the federal prison system. The movie is good, helped by direction from Jacques Tourneur, who had worked his way up from the MGM B unit to this first feature, but you get the impression it could have been a lot better.

They All Come Out is, as far as I know, not available on DVD, so you'll have to catch the rare TCM showing.

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