Synopsis: United States Treasury agents O'Brien and Genaro infiltrate a counterfeiting ring which has some dangerously good paper. This is supposedly based on several actual Treasury cases.
Director(s): Anthony Mann
Production: Edward Small Productions
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

In our nation's capital is a

branch of the government...

over a century and a half old,

established by President

George Washington in 1789,

The United States Treasury


We're going to take you inside and

introduce you...

to the former chief coordinator of

the law enforcement agencies...

of the Treasury Department,

Mr. Elmer Lincoln Irey.

I'm happy to have this chance

to tell you about the work...

of the law enforcement agents of

the Treasury Department.

There are 6 units of "shock troops"...

in the Treasury's striking

force against crime.

These are:
the Intelligence Unit,

which tracks income tax violators;

The Customs Service, who with

the Border Patrol fights smuggling;

the Narcotics Unit;

the Secret Service...

which guards the President and

ferrets out counterfeiters;

the Alcohol Tax Unit

which uncovers bootleggers;

and the Coast Guard.

These are the six fingers

of the Treasury Department fist.

That fist hits fair, but hard!

To give you an idea of how

big a job they really do:

in one year, 64% of all prisoners

in Federal penitentiaries...

were sent there by this group.

We are going to show you

a composite case...

which will let you see how the agents

work and how the units cooperate.

We call this the

"Shanghai Paper" case.

It was broken just as

we broke the Al Capone case.

Undercover work, such as was

necessary in this case,

means "danger" and plenty of it!

The case started in Los Angeles in a

district just off Santa Monica Blvd.

A Secret Service agent had arranged

a meeting with an underworld informant.

The informer had promised to turn

over a clean sample of the paper...

being used by a counterfeit gang.

This was the first break in

a long and baffling case.

Having informed the

Los Angeles Police of the killing...

the agent reported to the local Secret

Service office in the Federal Building.

Thanks, Lieutenant.

Tough luck, Nesbitt.

Homicide says all they've got to go

on is the 3.38 slugs from the body.

What do you know

about the murdered guy?

Nothing much. He was a wino.

A skid row character named "Shorty. "

A professional informer.

He was supposed to meet with me and

give me a clean paper sample for $500.

He didn't quite make it.

Well, Nesbitt. I guess you're washed

up. On this case, I mean.

Yeah, I was afraid of that.

If they knew this Shorty's movements,

they probably knew yours too.

Maybe I was lucky,

- You'll never know.

Smith got so far... a dead end,

almost got killed.

Parker got a little farther, no dice.

You got the farthest of all.

Still a dead end!

Like punching a featherbed!

We're too close to this whole thing.

We can't see the woods for the trees.

Let Washington handle the overall

strategy. They have the case reports.

I'll teletype them the latest.

Gregg's right!

It's no ordinary gang of counterfeiters.

They don't usually go in for killings.

Their product has turned up

all over the country.

Notice anything funny when

you went through these?

Counterfeits are fair,


Paper's excellent.

Very good!

If we could just get

a clean sample for lab analysis.

Go on.

The gang's cagey.

They use some of our own methods:

surveillance, shadowing...

check backgrounds

of anyone working for them.

That's the general picture.

A tough, tight outfit!

Another thing:
this LA crowd makes both

counterfeit money and revenue stamps.

Their phony liquor stamps

have turned up mainly in Detroit.

The Vantucci mob is using them.

So they're back in business again?

I get it... there must be some

tie-up between them.

This thing must be approached

through Detroit.

You remember the Capone case?

- Who doesn't?

We attacked through Brooklyn

to win in Chicago.

Same thing here.

Detour to Detroit to crack

a Los Angeles setup.

It'll have to be a "rope-in" job.

All undercover.

I'm trying to get a couple of agents

into the Vantucci Mob in Detroit.

It's funny...

This will give the Vantucci's

a little borrowed time.

The Alcohol Tax Unit was going to

lower the boom on them next week.

But now we need Mr. Vantucci.

Let's find 2 agents with the ability

to pass as mobsters...

and possibly some knowledge

of Italian.

Men who've never worked in Detroit

or Los Angeles.

Of the 2 agents Carson picked,

the first was recalled

for the St. Louis office.

His file card read, "Dennis O'Brien. "

Born New York City.

Raised near Italian section,

Mulberry St.

Agent for 9 years.

Broke the Mazaratti

and Stevens cases.

Undercover once for 8 months,

again for 3.


Parents now living in Boston.

From the Indianapolis office, came

Carson's other choice...

Anthony Genaro.

Born San Francisco.

University of California.

Married Mary Bennett, 1947.

Speaks fluent Italian.

Agent for 2 years since discharge

from Army.

So you go to Detroit cold.

Start at the bottom

and work up step-by-step.

A fragment of fact here and there.

Make your own picture of things.

There's nothing compulsory about

this assignment.

You can turn it down

without prejudice.

Did you hear anybody say anything?

- No.

I don't stick other men's necks out.

Genaro, where's your wife?

She's visiting her mother

in San Francisco.

Not so good.

I'll write and tell her...

- No, don't tell her where you are.

Any questions?

Anything not clear?

I guess not.

Contact us through our

Detroit office. Good luck!

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John C. Higgins

John C. Higgins (April 28, 1908 – July 2, 1995) was an American screenwriter. During the 1930s and early 1940s, the Winnipeg, Canada-born scribe worked on mostly complex murder mystery films, including the Spencer Tracy film Murder Man (1935). During the late 1940s, Higgins continued to pen thrillers, including semidocumentary-style films, including director Anthony Mann's He Walked By Night, Raw Deal, T-Men and Border Incident. Higgins also wrote horror films like the Basil Rathbone starrer The Black Sleep (1956) and Higgins last film Daughters of Satan (1972). Higgins also wrote the science fiction film Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and the adventure film Impasse (1969). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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