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The Night of the Infernal Machine - Recap

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Jim arrives at the hotel set aside for a convention of Federal judges. Artie is there already, disguised as a pastry chef. He’s found no trace of a crate of dynamite Jim goes to see Judge M’Guigan, who is with Judge Vickerman.

The two judges are playing pool while a waiter, Bledsoe, secretly replaces one of the balls. Jim comes in and asks to speak with M’Guigan privately. Once they’re alone, Jim explains that the President has sent him to protect M’Guigan, the chairman of the convention. A crate of dynamite has been stolen in Denver and traced to the convention. As Vickerman calls M’Guigan in to continue their game, and M’Guigan tells him to break while Jim briefs him. Vickerman goes back to the pool table and shoots, and an explosion destroys the room.

Later, Chief of Police Bulvon and his men come in to investigate. Bulvon is less than happy to have Jim interfering. Jim explains that he didn’t have enough time to notify Bulvon when he arrived, but Bulvon demands the fragments that the agent has found. The inspector refuses to cooperate and Jim tosses him a small piece of metal, claiming it’s a live bomb, and saunters out while Bulvon and his men take cover.

Artie is working in the kitchen when the other cook, Cefalu, argues with him. Jim interrupts them before they can come to blows and talks to Artie privately. He tells his partner what he’s found and they wonder if the bomb was intended for Vickerman or M’Guigan. Jim notes that M’Guigan prides himself on sending more anarchists to prison than any other Federal judge. Zeno Baroda is the only other man than Artie who could make such a bomb, and he was paroled from a life sentence a month ago by M’Guigan. The agents figure that Baroda has more in mind than killing a single judge with the stolen crate of dynamite, and Jim has Artie search the hotel for the dynamite.

As Jim leaves, the fake waiter, now posing as a worker, spots the agent and attacks him. The killer, Bledsoe, flees when he’s unable to immediately kill Jim.

M’Guigan is supervising the female dancers, led by Vashti, when Jim comes in looking for Bledsoe. The judge interrupts Vashti to insist that she provided a moral performance, Jim tells the police officers to focus on M’Guigan, not the dancing girls, and then discusses the attempt on his life. M’Guigan dismisses it as the workings of a lunatic, but Jim shows him the bomb fragment. The judge insists that he paroled Baroda because he believed he was rehabilitated. However, Jim warns that Baroda could hide a bomb anywhere... and notices a nearby clock that wasn’t there the day before. As Jim tries to defuse it, Bulvon arrives and demands an explanation. Jim tosses the lock into a bucket of water to defuse it as Bulvon and his men duck for cover. M’Guigan refuses to let Jim persecute Baroda and the agent leaves with the bomb.

Jim takes the clock to a clocksmith and asks if he knows anyone who could fix it. The owner, Moody, finally tells Jim the name of the one man who could fix it, Zeno Baroda. Moody directs Jim to the shack where Baroda now lives. As Jim rides off, Bledsoe watches him.

In the kitchen, M’Guigan rehearses his speech as Artie and Cefalu work. Artie is less than impressed, and M’Guigan tells him to put a model of the Statue of Liberty on he convention cake. The judge insists that it must be ready for the convention banquet the next night. Two workers bring in a crate of champagne, but when Artie opens it, he discovers that it contains dynamite.

Jim goes to Baroda’s shack and finds him working on a clock. Baroda doesn’t bother to look at the look at first, and then casually identifies it as a rare clock. Jim offers it to him as payment in return for creating a bomb to kill the man cheating with his wife. Baroda dismisses the affair as petty and insists that he doesn’t believe in murder for such a puny cause. Jim asks what cause he’d consider large enough and Baroda figures that he’s a police spy. He tells Jim to get out and the agent leaves with the clock.

Back in town, Jim spots Bledsoe near the convention hotel and tackles him. The agent quickly subdues the assassin and demands to know whom he works for, but a sniper kills Bledsoe before he can talk.

Later, Artie washes Vashti as she rehearses her patriotic tap-dancing act. Cefalu fires a flaming shish kabob at Artie, narrowly missing, and then claims that Vashti has his heart. Artie continues to insult the Sicilian chef , and then slips upstairs. He knocks on M’Guigan’s door but gets no answer. As he tries to pick the lock, Baroda sneaks up behind him and knocks him out. The anarchist then calls out that he’s going to kill M’Guigan, fires several shots through the door, and leaves a wind-up toy bear on the floor. It rolls toward Artie and the door, and Artie wakes up just in time to throw it out the window as it explodes. M’Guigan comes out of another room and Artie realizes that they moved him. The judge refuses to stay in the hotel

That night, Bulvon escorts M’Guigan to the Wanderer and assures the judge that his men will be safe. Jim is waiting for him and notes that M’Guigan is still in danger despite the fact that they’ve found the dynamite. Bulvon assures them that he’s taken special precautions to make sure that no one knows he’s there. Vashti comes in with a picnic lunch and explains that Cefalu prepared the meal. She tells them that everyone knows that they are there, and M’Guigan asks why they can’t save him from Bonoda. Vashti offers to hide him and the judge leaves with her over Bulvon’s objections. Once he’s gone, Jim tells Bulvon that M’Guigan may be better off in the open as bait but the Chief of Police refuses to consider the idea.

Later, Bulvon is inspecting security arrangements at the hotel when Baroda approaches him with a gun. However, the anarchist turns over the gun and asks Bulvon to place him under arrest.

At the Wanderer, Jim tests his armored waistcoat and then equips himself. Meanwhile, a waiter brings an unmarked envelope for Artie.

When Jim arrives at the hotel, Bulvon tells him that Baroda turned himself in. The agent notes that now Baroda has a perfect alibi for anything that happens. Vashti finds Jim and says that Artie is in the kitchen, injured and bandaged Jim checks on his friend and discovers that a wire leading to the freezer. He cuts the wire and opens the freezer, and “Artie” knocks him out and locks him in. M’Guigan removes the bandages and assures Vashti that he has great plans for them. He then puts a special dynamite torch in the hand of the Statue of Liberty module. When the dancer hesitates, M’Guigan assures her that she’ll dance for the President when his plan is complete.

In the freezer, Jim finds Artie, gagged and tied up.

Bulvon strolls through the convention hall and notices that M’Guigan isn’t there. M’Guigan comes in late and invites Bulvon to sit down. The judge then welcomes his fellow Federal judges and introduces Vashti and her girls. While she performs, M’Guigan looks around nervously and makes sure that his hidden revolver is at the ready.

Jim explains to his partner that Baroda made the bombs for M’Guigan in return for his freedom. The agents take the bullets out of their guns and remove the gunpowder. They figure that M’Guigan plans to kill off all of the competent judges and eliminate the competition.

Once Vashti finishes her act and poses on a swing, M’Guigan makes a speech, talking about how he started as an actor. As he rants on, the other judges realize that something is going on. M’Guigan finally says that he’ll be presenting the annual reward.

The oxygen begins to run out in the freezer as the agents rig the gunpowder.

The staff brings in the cake and the agents hear the applause. They try to light the gunpowder with a match but there isn’t enough oxygen to create a flame. Jim put the gunpowder back into one of the bullets.

Vashti lights a sparkler while M’Guigan heads for the door and nods to her. As the dancer swings toward the model statue, one of the judges tries to talk to M’Guigan. He slips past and runs past Bulvon when the chief of police tries to tell him a joke.

Jim fires the reassembled bullet, setting off the gunpowder. They run out and capture Vashti as she tries to escape. Jim goes to the balcony and spots the explosive torch. Artie captures M’Guigan and brings both conspirator to the convention hall, and then he tosses a bottle of seltzer to Jim. Jim swings down and douses the fuse, while M’Guigan breaks free. While Artie struggle with Vashti, Jim goes after M’Guigan. The judge doubles back and shoots at the other judges until Jim tackles him into the cake.

As M’Guigan rambles on, Bulvon wonders if M’Guigan was an anarchist and the agents explain that he was merely ambitious. Vashti feigns ignorance and offers to testify, but the agents aren’t impressed. Cefalu runs in and proclaims love for Vashti., promising to seek vendetta on her behalf. Irritated, Vashti slams a piece of cake into the cook’s face while Artie and Jim chuckle.