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The 100 Dollar Gang is a ruthless gang of protection money
racketeers, and normally they can go after their business undisturbed
since noone dares to call the police ... until one day someone kills a
restaurant owner (Dirk Dautzenberg) while they collect money and puts the
blame on them - and then there's a little boy, Billy (Uwe Reichmeister)
who has witnessed it all, and the racketeers just want to get him out of
the way (even though he's the only one who can prove they haven't actually
killed the man).
Eventually, top FBI-agent Jerry Cotton (George Nadeer) and his
colleague Phil Dekker (Heinz Weiss) are entrusted with the case, and the
first thing they do is pretty much save Billy from an assault by the gang.
Later they set up a trap using Sophie's (Elke Neidhart) gas station -
that's blown to Kingdom Come in the process - and make various attempts at
catching the gang ... but to no avail at first, because the gang doesn't even shy
away from killing their own men.
It is not until Jerry finds a lead to the Goldfish Club that he gets
onto the gang's track, and soon he realizes that the Club's owner, Wilma
De Loy (Silvia Solar), is in league with the plan - but according to his
logic, the leadeer of the gang has to be a man ...
In the meantime, young Billy has watched some television, and wouldn't
you know it, in an ad for a supermarket chain, he recognized the killer,
Bruce Erikson (Henri Cogan), who actually owns the supermarket chain. But
instead of going to the police with this information, he goes right to
Erikson's office - and walks into a trap that Erikson himself hasn't even
set yet. Meanwhile, Jerry has followed some of the Hundred Dollar Gang
goons to Erikson's office, and Erikson is now rather surprisingly revealed
to be the brains of the gang. Somehow, Erikson manages to make a getaway
with Wilma and the boy while his henchmen try to get rid of Jerry (of
course they don't succeed), and soon the whole policeforce tries to hunt
Erikson down, but after an extended chase, it's of course a showdown
between Jerry and Erikson ... but in the end, Erikson is shot by Wilma
because he tried to shoot her so she can't slow him down. But even when
dieing, Erikson still climbs into the small airplane he intended to use
for his getaway, starts her and off she rolls - with Billy aboard ... but
guess what, Jerry saves Billy in the nick of time.
Genre fave Paul Muller plays one of the gangsters w2ho is blown to
smithereens in the course of the proceedings ...
Somehow the plot doesn't quite click: After the Hundred Dollar Gang
complain about being framed for a murder they didn't commit, it was
actually their boss who did the killing (!?). And why did he do it ? And
if he owns a supermarket chain, why does he also run a protection money
racket ? And if he runs a protection money racket, and has been seen
murdering somebody, why does he show his face on TV ?
This questions aside though, Manhattan Night of Murder is a
slick little thriller, containing plenty of action and moving at a fast
enough pace to not make one think too much about the incongruencies of the
story. Of course, like in most Jerry Cotton films, the
occarional focus on police procedure is a bit ridiculous and the
outdoor-scenes shot in Germany that are supposed to be set in Manhattan
are not always convincing - but somehow, that's part of the charm of the Jerry
Cotton series ...