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The Sitting Pigeon Recap

In London, the Blake Brothers are on trial for the third day. McGill is walking down the street and two men in a car covertly follow him. When McGill stops to buy a newspaper, a man gets out of the car and asks him to get in. McGill realizes they’re police and comes over, and the man in the back flashes his badge. They threaten to arrest him for loitering and obstruction if he doesn’t cooperate, and McGill gets in. They drive off and say that Chief Inspector Franklin wants a word with him.

At the station, Franklin and his assistant, Sergeant Jackson, are going over McGill’s file when McGill comes in. Franklin points out that McGill is an unregistered alien with a dubious work permit, and is well aware that McGill hasn’t had a job in over a month. He hints that it would take several days for McGill to procure a lawyer, and offer him a job for 500 pounds. The money belongs to Rufus Blake, whose brothers are standing trial for murder.

The trio retires to a conference room and Franklin brings up slides of Rufus’ brothers, Lenny and Frank. They run a patch south of the river, and beat a rival--Joe Kilven--when he tried to move in. They accidentally killed him and they’re on trial for it, they work for a big man, Rudyard, and he’s paying for top lawyers to clear their names. They need an eyewitness, Rufus, and McGill will be working for him.

Fred Gilley, one of the officers who brought in McGill, goes to see Rufus in prison. When he calls the guard a “stupid screw,” Gilley slaps him and tells him to mind his manners. When Rufus objects, Gilley slaps him again and escorts him out. Once they leave, the trustee mopping the floors moves off. Soon, Rudyard receives word that Rufus is meeting with Franklin. Rudyard figures that Rufus knows what to do, but Miss Dinsdale warns that Rufus isn’t like the others. Rudyard’s imported killer Geordie nods when his boss says that he knows what to do.

Franklin tells McGill that they’re holding Rufus on a charge and will drop it if he testifies against his brothers. If Rufus puts Frank and Lenny away then he can get at their Swiss bank account. Rufus wants a day to make arrangements, and someone to guard him. Gilley brings Rufus in, and Franklin says that Gilley was just slapping him for show. He assures Rufus that McGill is tough enough o do the job, and reads the whole procedure for how Rufus will testify in two days in return for the dropping of charges. He advises Rufus to stay in custody or accept police protection, and Rufus refuses both.

Franklin and Jackson leave Rufus with McGill, Rufus explains that McGill gets 500 pounds for driving and watching his back. McGill points out that the police will do it for free, and Rufus insists that he isn’t turning pigeon. He plans to end up with his brothers in prison and all of the money in his hands. McGill figures that he’s afraid and tells him to find someone else, but Rufus figures that Franklin put the pressure on McGill and he doesn’t have a choice.

Rudyard’s men put out word for any information on Rufus, while Rudyard tells Geordie that he brought him in because nobody knows him.

After Rufus is escort back to prison, McGill tells Franklin that it isn’t his kind of work. The inspector points out that Rufus’ brothers are much worse, and they need him free for a day so they can put away Lenny and Frank. When McGill still refuses, Franklin threatens to make it impossible for him to operate in Europe. They also tell him no guns because they don’t want anyone dying over Rufus. McGill has no choice but to agree.

Rufus is released the next day and one of Rudyard’s men follows him. Jackson, posing as a taxi driver, has McGill and picks up Rufus. The sergeant then drops both of them off at a waiting car, and Rufus complains about the quality of the car. McGill points out that he’ll be nothing in 24 hours, but Rufus insists that he’s a big man and tells McGill to do what he’s told. He orders McGill to take him to the Colchester Hotel, but McGill refuses, pointing out that’s exactly where Rudyard will be looking for him.

Rudyard receives word that Rufus is out on his own with no transport. His aide, Tommy Baxter, figures that Rufus will head to the Colchester for breakfast. Rudyard tells him to give Rufus his lead because eventually he’ll go to Olsen, a fur dealer that that Blakes use as a bank. Rudyard tells Geordie to go to Olsen’s and collect Rufus for them.

Rufus has McGill drive him to Olsen’s, and McGill reminds him to follow his advice. They go through the showroom to Olsen’s office, and Rufus demands the family money. Olsen refuses to give it to Rufus on his own, figuring Lenny and Frank will kill him if he does. When Rufus prepares to beat him, McGill stops him and he starts to call the cop. Olsen figures that he’s bluffing but Franklin comes on the line. The furrier caves and gives Rufus the money, and Rudyard calls and asks for Rufus. Exasperated, McGill yanks out the phone line and opens the back door, and tells Rufus to head for the door very slowly. Geordie is waiting and says that Rudyard wants a chat... about pigeons. McGill knocks him out and gets out with Rufus.

Geordie reports back to Rudyard about his failure, and points out that he wasn’t warned that Rufus would have a bodyguard. However, he insists that he doesn’t need help and draws his knife. Rudyard tells him to look him up afterward if he wants to fight, and says that he doesn’t want to see Rufus again now that it’s clear he’s going to grab his money and run.

McGill and Rufus buy lunch at a coffee store and Rufus claims that the whole thing he was doing at Olsen’s office was an act. He dismisses Geordie as an amateur and figures that they can take care of him, and McGill half-jokingly says that he could kill Rufus himself and collect the reward. After they leave the store owner calls Rudyard.

McGill and Rufus buy some things and take a taxi to the zoo. Rufus doesn’t want to go, and says that he has to go see a bird that Rudyard doesn’t know about . He insists that it’s private and offers McGill a bonus to let him go, and McGill tells the cabbie to head to a parking lot.

Aaa assures Rudyard that if Rufus stops anywhere for more than ten minutes, their people will spot him. He assures Rudyard that someone is watching the girl, and Rudyard tells Geordie that the girl, Valerie Walmont, works in a shop and thinks Rufus is a commercial traveler. Since she’s straight, they’ll act straight. Aaa says that he’ll handle Valerie, and Rudyard explains that Aaa used to be a copper and can handle it. After Aaa leaves, Rudyard tells Geordie that Aaa will pretend to arrest Rufus and then the killer can dispose of him.

Ggg arrives home from work and Aaa knocks at her door. He introduces himself as a police detective and asks her to identify the man she knows as Richard Grant. Aaa wants to ask Rufus a few questions, and Valerie says that she hasn’t seen him for several weeks. He says that he’ll have to wait and Valerie offers him some tea.

Geordie complains about the lack of action, and Rudyard assumes him that he’ll get it when Aaa brings Rufus in. The killer wants McGill, and Rudyard knows about him. Geordie boasts that he’ll break McGill’s arms just like he did to another man, and Rudyard says that it won’t be long.

McGill arrives at Valerie’s and claims that he’sconducting a survey and her boss recommended her. Aaa says that he’ll have to come back and McGill asks to use the telephone. Valerie agrees over Aaa’s objections, and McGill calls Jackson and asks if he sent a policeman. Jackson confirms that they didn’t and McGill knocks Aaa unconscious and tells Valerie that he’s a phony. She figures it’s a trick until McGill gives her the phrase that Rufus gave him to pass along.

They get to the car and Rufus emerges from hiding in the back seat. As McGill drives away, Rufus says that he’s helping the police. McGill pulls over into an alley and walks a short distance away to give them some privacy, and Rufus gives Valerie 500 pounds and tells her to stay away from work and her flat. He then instructs her to book a ticket to Switzerland and meet him there at the Palace Hotel in Geneva, and says that he’ll meet her there. Valerie agrees and they kiss.

Aaa calls in to tell Rudyard what has happened, and Rudyard’s secretary, Miss Dinsdale, gets a call that Franklin and Jackson are heading out. Rudyard figures that they can follow them to Rufus.

McGill takes Rufus to a botanical garden, figuring Rudyard’s people won’t look for him there. The ex-agent checks the place and says that they need somewhere to hide until dark. They go out past a hot dog vendor, and he spots them and runs to make a call. Meanwhile, McGill takes Rufus to the St. Luke’s Choral Society musical performance. Rufus complains again and McGill gives him something to eat. He tells him to stay put while he takes a look around. A man comes around and glances over the audience, and Rufus notices him.

Franklin and Jackson approach McGill outside, and say that they lost Rudyard’s people following him. McGill figures that it’s a setup, and Franklin admits that he likes Rufus scared so that he’ll testify.

Rudyard is coordinating search efforts from office. He gets a report that Rufus was spotted at the botanical gardens, but the mob boss figures that Rufus wouldn’t be caught dead there. Geordie comes in and comments that it’s cold out, and Rudyard figures that McGill will go to ground in a botanical hot house

McGill leads Rufus back to the hot house via the back way and breaks in. He wedges the door shut and gives Rufus a flask for warmth. Rufus takes credit for the whole thing and figures that Rudyard will never look for them there, and McGill goes out to scout around.

As Rufus settles down on a bench next to a heater, he points out that McGill is doing all the work. His brothers used to say that he didn’t have what it took to be a criminal, and now Rufus figures that he’s on top. McGill doesn’t see the point in arguing with him.

Geordie scales the wall with a rope and grappling hook, and then puts a silencer on his gun and heads for the hot house.

Inside, Rufus lights a cigarette and McGill irritably tells him to stop. Geordie opens the door and the jams scratch on the floor, alerting McGill and Rufus. Rufus figures that McGill sold him out, and begs Geordie to let him talk to Rudyard. McGill knocks Rufus out and covers him over, and then tosses pots to distract Geordie. Geordie mistakes them for gunshots and shoots into the darkness, while Rufus wakes up and calls out. As Geordie takes aim, McGill disarms him with a board and knocks him unconscious. Rufus grabs the gun and threatens McGill, who easily takes the gun and dismisses him as a gutless punk.

The next day, McGill delivers Rufus as agreed. The Blake brothers are put away without appeal, and they watch Gilley take Rufus to the airport to catch a flight to Geneva. McGill figures that he’ll last ten minutes there, and Franklin pays him off. The inspector suggests that McGill buy the beer and they head off to a pub.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 18, 2015

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