The System

Synopsis: Gambler John Merrick (Frank Lovejoy) is the head of a bookie syndicate and the newspaper is crusading against him and the rackets, primarily because Merrick is in love with Felice Stuart (Joan Weldon), daughter of the newspaper publisher who can not break up the romance through persuasion. A senate committee investigating crime gets involved, the racketeers, other than Merrick who is a "nice guy", strike back and kill a reporter, and Merrick's own son, Jerry Merrick (Robert Arthur), commits suicide. Merrick, to his own disadvantage, helps bring down the syndicate. Since it is in black-and-white-, deals with crime and was an American-made film, some will call it "film noir" since that seems to be the current guidelines for putting a film in that, at one time limited-and-defined genre. It ain't, and neither are most of the others currently so classified.
90 min

Put your hands up!


Gee, just a kid!

What do you know?

A water pistol.

Not much of a yarn for you, Jerry.

Nothing that'll stop your presses.

- Is he DOA? - Yeah.

Caught one in the stomach

and one in the chest. - Armed?

With a toy pistol.

Fool kid!

- Local?

Don't know. I've got his prints

upstairs, no make on him yet.

You see him before?


But never like this.

Sorry to call you at this hour, Chief.

Nonsense. It's only after two.

Come in.

I don't suppose that

City Desk could handle it?

It isn't just another story, Chief.

Then I suppose it

couldn't wait until morning?

Well, maybe it could but..

I couldn't.

Before I retired last night,

I congratulated myself.

Roger, I said..

You smoked eleven cigars yesterday,

today it was only ten.

You're winning your fight.


Mr. Stuart, I've been

working for the paper..

I've been working for you..

a good long while now..

- Take a drink.

Thanks, I don't need it. It..

- Take it!

While attempting to burglarize the

Travelers Jewelry Company on

East Main Street at 12:27 this morning,

a man was shot and killed by

officers B. Lamb and F. Miller.

Police reports stated that

the unidentified burglar was armed

with a toy pistol.

I just identified that body.

It wasn't a man.

It was a boy! 18 years young!

You knew him?

- Since he was that high.

Name? - Don't mean nothing to you.

Gerber. Ricky Gerber.

His father runs that small

bakery over on Ostermeyer.

Just got out of Winauski High, last year.

Wanted to go to State U

with my kid this year.

Mr. Gerber said no. He needed

Ricky to help out around the bakery.

I just saw Gerber.

I had to tell him where to go

to pick up what's left of his son.

It wasn't easy.

- I can sympathize with the father.

It must have been a terrible blow.

We found out the kid

had been gambling: horses.

Hooked by some two-bit book.

Kid couldn't pay off.

Book let him double up.

Sucked in him over his head.

Kid was afraid his father might hear

about it. Panicked, hit the jewelry store.

18 years old!

The same age as my kid! The same

age as a 1,000 kids in this town!

Alright, Alan, make your point.

Gerber made it for me.

The way he looked at me.

He asked he, "Why, Jerry?"

"Why'd you let this happen to my boy?"

He meant me.

He meant you.

He meant the paper.

I'm no crusader, Mr. Stuart.

You know that.

I've always figured

crusades were for young men,

who give no thought

to personal consequences.

Now I know they're for old men too.

Old men who want to do one

decent thing before they check out.

What do you want to do? - I want go

after the Clarkton gambling syndicate!

Yeah.. - Smash it wide open.

Force the authorities to take action.

Root this corruption out at the source,

before it creeps into our

homes and threatens our kids.

How much do you know?

Really know?

I can wreck the whole operation.

- How?

By going after Johnny Merrick.


Go ahead.

Write the first piece.

Slant it toward Merrick.

- Slant it?

Maybe you don't understand, Mr. Stuart,

I want to name Johnny Merrick.

Break up Merrick

Enterprises dollar by dollar.

I know.

But not just yet.

Not to begin with. - But if we go,

we have to go all the way.

I can't do that unless I'm free to

name names and places and things.

I agree.

But for now..

I just want Merrick worried, anxious.

But Johnny Merrick isn't the kind

of the man you just threaten.

Either kiss him or kill him!

I assure you, I have no

intention of kissing him.

Believe me, Alan,

I have a very good reason for

not mentioning his name just yet.


I'm sure you have, Mr. Stuart.

- Agree?


I'll tell you Strohm in the morning

to let you off all other assignments.

You'll be directly responsible to me.

I'll read your copy as you turn it out.

Good morning, Mr. Merrick.

- Morning. Any calls?

Judge Thayer, Mr. Angelo, Mr. Sweet..

Nothing important. - Any mail?


- Anything from my son?

Your personal mail is on your desk. Mr.

Brady and Mr. Liggett are in your office.

Uh, traffic ticket.

You handle it.

- For you, Mr. Merrick?

I'll fix it. - No, don't fix it, just

pay it. I uh.. went through a red light.

Morning, Boss.

- Good morning, Johnny.

You know when my lawyer smiles,

I begin to look for trouble.

During my long and plaid career,

I've found that a cheerful aspect

confuses and makes uncertain my opponent.

Just read that, it'll do much good for

your adrenaline glands. - A minute.

It's important, Boss.

From Rex, this letter.

Why, this kid of mine is smart!

Tells me that he's got his program

with the university arranged so he'll go

through law school in 3 years instead

of 4. He's going to go summer school.

Rex Merrick, Attorney at Law!

Better watch your step, Brady,

there's tough competition ahead!

We may need him, along with

a couple of Supreme Court justices.

Brady ain't kidding.

It's a gun.

Old women! I'm surrounded by old women!

Yes, we're all getting along in years..

"Local gambling syndicate responsible

for Ricky Gerber's death".

By Jerry Allen.

"Two nights ago,

while attempting to burglarize

the Travelers Jewelry Company, "

"18 year old Ricky Gerber was shot

to death by Clarkton police officers."

"But it was not the police

bullets that took his life."

"The local gambling

syndicate had killed him."

"I had known Ricky Gerber

almost all of his brief life."

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Jo Eisinger

Jo Eisinger (1909 - 1991) was a film and television writer whose career spanned more than forty years from the early forties well into the eighties. He is widely recognized as the writer of two of the most psychologically complex film noirs: Gilda (1946) and Night and the City (1950). His credits also include The Sleeping City (1950) and Crime of Passion (1957), a coda to the films of the noir style, for which he wrote the story as well as the screenplay. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, it is a strikingly modern commentary about how women were driven mad by the limitations imposed upon them in the postwar period. Jo Eisinger started writing for radio penning numerous segments for the Adventures of Sam Spade series. He returned to thriller and private eye adventure series writing for the ITC television series Danger Man (1960–61) and the mid-1980s HBO series Philip Marlowe, Private Eye. His script for an episode of the latter show, "The Pencil", earned him a 1984 Edgar Award. Eisinger's credits also include several films that departed from his accustomed genres of mystery, adventure and crime. Among them are Oscar Wilde (1960), starring Robert Morley and Sir Ralph Richardson, The Rover (L'Avventuriero, 1967), from the novel by Joseph Conrad and starring Rita Hayworth and Anthony Quinn, and The Jigsaw Man (1983), starring Laurence Olivier and directed by Terence Young. Eisinger wrote the books on which the Broadway plays What Big Ears! (1942) and A Point of Honor (1937) were based. His novel The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1943) was adapted for the long-running radio drama program Suspense in 1944; the episode featured screen and radio actors Keenan Wynn and Hans Conried. A film version of The Walls Came Tumbling Down starring Edgar Buchanan and George Macready was released in 1946. Jo Eisinger's second marriage was to Lorain Beaumont. Eisinger used his wife's maiden name for Mr. Beaumont, one of the characters in The Walls Came Tumbling Down. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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