William Powell plays a cynical con man who graduates from penny-ante operations to a big-time charity racket. The scam involves collecting money on behalf of St. Dismas, bringing Powell in close contact with several men of the cloth. As the racket rolls on, Powell is touched by the sincerity of the religious men and the plights of the charity's rightful recipients. He has a change of heart, confessing his original criminal intentions but seeing to it that the money goes to the right people. Hoodlum Saint was typical of the facile religiosity often found in MGM pictures of the period. The film is best remembered as the first non-aquatic performance of MGM swimming star Esther Williams.
by Hal Erickson synopsis