***SPOILERS*** When NYPD police detective and big time law & order man George Audette, Carroll O'Connor, found out that his sweet and innocent 17 year old daughter Alice, Penny Fuller, was fooling around with pre-med student Johnny Ricci, Robert Drivas, he blew his stack and used all his pull with the courts to have Johnny arrested and tried for statutory rape. The fact that both Johnny & Alice were madly in love with each other made no difference to George who wanted Johnny to pay for his crime of fooling around with his what he felt very naive and impressionable daughter.
With Johnny now arrested and put in the can, jail, it's Johnny's parents Ben & Mary Ricca, Paul Bryar & Elizabeth Moore, who seek out advice from local social worker and all around kind hearted gentleman Neil Brock, George C. Scott,for what help they would need to get their boy Johnny out of the slammer and keep him from not finishing, by having a criminal record as a sex offender, medical school to become a doctor. Not giving an inch George finally gives in when his daughter threatens to skip town with her Johnny, after he's released on bail, to a state that has looser statutory rape laws, in being under 18 to have consent, and marry him there.
****SPOILERS**** You can say that love won out here in the end with George agreeing to drop all the charges against Johnny and wait until his daughter turns 18, in six months, and let the two do whatever they want, get married, and then cut them out of his life forever. Even though George confessed a great love for his daughter Alice his actions showed just what an unfeeling tyrant he really was. He was more then ready to destroy both her and Johnny's life over something he should have been very forgiving for. It's no secret that later in life George Audette or Carroll O'Connor would show his true colors as the bigoted and at the same time incredibly stupid Archie Bunker in the TV serial "All in the Family". Which I suspect in his portrayal of the closed minded and unfeeling Det. George Audette here in East/Side West/Side is what got him the part!
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