Larceny, Inc. (1942)
Long before modern day actors like Robert De Niro parodied themselves in films like Analyze This, Edward G. Robinson was doing it wonderfully in films like this and others such as A Slight Case of Larceny and The Whole Town’s Talking.
This is another film that Eddie’s home studio Warner Brothers issued from producer Hal Wallis and journeyman director Lloyd Bacon. Robinson and pal Broderick Crawford have just finished a stretch in Sing Sing and hook up with old crime mate Edward Brophy. Robinson does well in the role of the quick talking con man which he excelled at in many films of the era. This time out he’s got some heavy competition as Jack Carson is in the cast. Carson always brings a smile to my face when he appears on screen. Like Robinson he has that rapid fire delivery, especially in his contract days at Warners.
Our trio of would be gangsters must have been watching a Three Stooges short because the plot of this film seems pulled from one of their wild schemes. Robinson, naturally in the role of Moe decides to buy a luggage store and tunnel through the basement into the bank vault next door. From there nothing goes as planned and the boys get entangled with civic duties and standing up for the little guys like John Qualen. As a leading lady we get Jane Wyman whom Jack Carson has firmly set in his sights and keep your eyes open for a young Jackie Gleason as a soda jerk. For a villain we get rising star Anthony Quinn who does a great job at menacing and threatening the boys perfect set up. This is a role that was usually reserved for Bogie but by this time he was well on his way. Quinn is a great example of persevering in Hollywood as it would be another 5 years before his first lead role and 10 more till his first Oscar.
Grab this one if you can as it calls back to the days of lighter comedy, a solid cast and gives evidence that Robinson was much more than just a Rico or a Rocco.