Although I have seen Brother Orchid, I did not know Edward G. Robinson had that much talent for comedy. Then again, I had not seen Larceny Inc. one of the 5 movies in the Warner Brothers Gangsters Collection Volume 4 DVD box set. Larceny Inc is one of those old-fashion comedies where the writing and the acting are center stage instead of double takes and fart jokes. The print used for this DVD is pristine.
Larceny Inc is the screen adaptation of the play by Laura S.J. Perelman. In this gangster comedy Edward G. Robinson plays Pressure, a smooth-talking conman freshly released from prison along with his partners in crime Weepy (Edward Brophy) and Jug (Broderick Crawford). Pressure wants to go straight with a dog track in Florida but to get the start-up money he decides to rob a bank. To rob the bank, he decides to buy a luggage store from which he will tunnel into its vault.
This excellent plan goes wrong, especially when Pressure’s daughter figures it out and decides to force him on the straight and narrow. This makes for some very good comedy. There are also a few other very funny and original hindrances and twists to this story that make Larceny, Inc an original and fun gangster comedy.
Edward G. Robinson plays it straight all the way through without missing one comic opportunity. The laughs come from the absurdity of the situations, of the secondary characters, and the excellent writing. There are also many great one-line gags in this movie.
What I also enjoyed about the Larceny Inc. DVD is it is one of those Warner Night at the Movies releases so you get a defective 1942 newsreel and two cartoons. One black and white Porky Pig, Porky’s Pastry Pirates, and Bugs Bunny’s The Wabbit Who Came to Supper. Also included is Winning Your Wings, a WW II public relations short for the air force starring Lieutenant James Stewart.
The Larceny Inc commentary track is done by two university eggheads and an absolute waste of time.