St. Benny the Dip

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Filmed very cheaply in New York, St. Benny the Dip (British title: Escape Me If You Can) has a charm and appeal that transcends its modest production trappings. Dick Haymes, Roland Young and Lionel Stander star as Benny, Matthew and Monk, three confidence tricksters forced by circumstance to pose as priests, tending to a slum mission. While clerically garbed, the three sharpsters slowly but surely change their ways, to the benefit of all concerned. As a result, two of the three find honest jobs in the civilian mainstream, while the third elects to remain a man of the cloth. The handpicked supporting cast includes Nina Foch as Haymes' sweetheart, and former child-star Freddie Bartholomew, making his final film appearance as an uptight genuine priest. Devotees of director Edgar Ulmer have insisted upon finding all sorts of hidden meanings in St. Benny the Dip, though it appears that Ulmer's primary concern while making the film was keeping all three of his formidable leading men within camera range.

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