After witnessing an incident on a foreign ship off California coast, a U.S. Treasury agent aboard a Coast Guard vessel decides to further investigate the matter by following a crime trail leading to China, Egypt, Lebanon and Cuba.
Jerry McKibbon is a tough, no nonsense reporter, mentoring special prosecutor John Conroy in routing out corrupt officials in the city, which may even include Conroy's own police detective father as a suspect.
Scott Brady meets Peggy Dow at the Reno gambling spot run by John Russell. He helps her win $120 at the craps table. They are seated next to each other on the flight to Chicago. He tells her he's going to propose to Dorothy Hart. He doesn't notice, but she looks disappointed.
In Chicago, Miss Hart is enthusiastic, but she warns him her uncle will object. He's the head of the Syndicate and he doesn't want her wedding anyone from the criminal world. Brady says he'll talk to him, but on the way he is grabbed, shot and moved. When he wakes, he discovers her uncle has been killed and he's been identified as the killer. The cops are on to his old friends. His only possible help is Miss Dow and his old friend Bruce Bennett, now a Chicago detective.
William Castle directed this with a lot of Chicago location shooting. It's more a Black Mask sort of story than a straight noir, with the lighting touches limited to the El system and the final couple of minutes. The movie is directed for speed and efficiency -- a Universal programmer, but with a decent number of red herrings and good performances (particularly by Bennett) until the murk begins to clear for the viewer about two-thirds of the way through.
Observant fans will want to keep an eye out for Rock Hudson in his first credited role.
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