Cast & Crew
District attorney "Honest" John Wallace is hailed a hero after he brings several mobsters to justice. John campaigns for state governor, unaware that his contractor friend, Mark Crandall, is working with various criminal elements to get him elected. John starts a new war against crime after another friend, chief of detectives Tom Haines, reports on the murder of mobster "Big Joe." Meanwhile, Big Joe's murderer, small-time gambler George Dickson, leaves his wife Sally and their five-year-old daughter Mary Ann at the little girl's birthday picnic and runs off with nightclub singer Joyce Griffith. Shortly thereafter, a vagrant who had played with Mary Ann is found dead in a quarry near the park where her party was held. After finding a pen engraved with George's name in the disfigured vagrant's pocket, police become convinced that the dead man is George, and Sally is arrested for his murder. The case against Sally is based on circumstantial evidence, and consequently, John is reluctant to prosecute until a dentist in Crandall's employ falsely testifies that the dead body was George. Convicted of murder, Sally is sentenced to a term of twenty years to life. George and Joyce, meanwhile, are delighted that George is now completely safe. Sally's conviction propels John to victory in the governor's race, and soon after he is elected, Crandall asks him not to pass a bill that would break up a monopoly and save the taxpayers money. When John protests, Crandall finally reveals that he was elected only because of his behind-the-scenes machinations. John is further shocked when he learns that Sally's conviction is phony and that the dentist perjured himself during the trial. John throws Crandall out of his office and calls newspaper reporter Erskine Johnson and gives him the full story. John then grants Sally a full pardon, calls a session of the grand jury to investigate Crandall and resigns from the governorship. Crandall sends his thugs to kill John, but he is saved by Tom. Later, John proposes to Sally, with whom he has fallen in love. George, meanwhile, having lost all his money gambling, returns to town, kidnaps Mary Ann and demands a ransom. Joyce soon tires of having to take care of Mary Ann, however, and fights with George, for whom she no longer cares. One day, Joyce secretly returns Mary Ann to Sally and warns John that George is following her, drunk and armed. Before George can do further harm, John and Tom capture him, and using a tip from Joyce, arrest him for Big Joe's murder. Although Joyce is also arrested for withholding evidence, John promises to help effect her release. John and Sally then plan their future together.
C. A. Beute
Arthur St. Claire
Edith Baldwin Watkins
The working title of this film was Permit to Kill.