The Law of Contact

Big News (September 7, 1929)

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Robert Armstrong in Big News
 

Released on September 7, 1929: (running time 66 minutes) A hard-drinking newspaper reporter is framed for murder by the gangster he is trying to expose.

Produced by Ralph Block

Directed by Gregory La Cava

The Actors: Robert Armstrong (Steve Banks), Carole Lombard (Margaret 'Margie' Banks), Louis Payne (Hensel, newspaper business manager), Wade Boteler (Art O'Neill, newspaper city editor), Charles Sellon (J.W. Addison, newspaper editor in chief), Sam Hardy (Joe Reno, speakeasy owner), Tom Kennedy (Police Sergeant Ryan), Warner Richmond (District Attorney's man Phelps), Helen Ainsworth (Vera, newspaper society editor), Herbert Clark (Pells, newspaper reporter), Gertrude Sutton (Helen Wilson, Addison's secretary), James Donlan (Deke, drunk reporter), George 'Gabby' Hayes (reporter Hoffman), Vernon Steele (reporter), Clarence Wilson (Coroner), Fred Behrle (elevator man), Colin Chase (Birn), Robert Dudley (telegraph editor), Lew Ayres (newspaper copyboy), Lynton Brent (newspaper reporter), Richard Cramer (heavy-set henchman), Harry Semels (thin henchman)

 

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The Newspaper Reporter vs the Gangster

The first ‘talking’ motion picture to be widely seen in theaters premiered on October 6, 1927. The first motion picture with sound produced outside the U.S. was a British movie directed by twenty-nine-year-old Alfred Hitchcock that premiered on June 21, 1929. This movie featuring full sound, was released on 7 September 1929, and by the end of 1929, adding sound to the moving pictures had become the only way to make a good motion picture.

It is September of 1929, and the Great Depression would not crash into the world for another month. The Roaring Twenties were still bubbling along, even though it was illegal in the U.S. to own, drink or sell alcoholic beverages. Everyone who wanted to drink was able to drink, thanks to the abundance of ‘Speakeasies’.

Usually a speakeasy was a restaurant or nightclub that closed its doors to the public, admitting only the people who could whisper a secret password, or could convince the owner that they would not reveal the site of the illegal saloon. In this adventure, Joe Reno owns a respectable restaurant that he advertises in the local newspaper. But secretly, through a door at the back of the restaurant, or a side door into the alley next to the restaurant, certain people were admitted to the fully functioning bar.

Steve Banks, played by Robert Armstrong in his first talking motion picture, is a hard-drinking newspaper reporter who thinks that the owner of the restaurant and secret speakeasy is also a gangster selling drugs, and is determined to find the evidence to prove it.

Unfortunately for reporter Banks, he will not get that evidence before his wife, played by Carole Lombard in her second talking picture, starts divorce proceedings against him. That would be bad enough for Banks, but a few minutes later he will lose his job. So what does Banks do, without a job and without a wife? He will find his always-drunk buddy and head to the speakeasy for a drink.

It sounds like newspaper reporter Banks has hit bottom, with nowhere to go next but up. Oops, he hasn’t hit bottom yet. He is about to be perfectly framed for murdering the boss that just fired him. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Sam Hardy
Sam Hardy
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard and Robert Armstrong
Carole Lombard and Robert Armstrong
Charles Sellon and Louis Payne
Charles Sellon and Louis Payne
Fred Behrle and Robert Armstrong
Fred Behrle and Robert Armstrong
Harry Semels and Richard Cramer
Harry Semels and Richard Cramer
Helen Ainsworth
Helen Ainsworth
Louis Payne
Louis Payne
Robert Armstrong
Robert Armstrong
Robert Armstrong and James Donlan
Robert Armstrong and James Donlan
Robert Armstrong
Robert Armstrong
Sam Hardy
Sam Hardy
Sam Hardy and Louis Payne
Sam Hardy and Louis Payne
Sam Hardy
Sam Hardy
Carole Lombard and Robert Armstrong
Carole Lombard and Robert Armstrong
Sam Hardy and Louis Payne
Sam Hardy and Louis Payne
Warner Richmond, Carole Lombard
Warner Richmond, Carole Lombard
Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy and Helen Ainsworth
Tom Kennedy and Helen Ainsworth
Tom Kennedy and Robert Armstrong
Tom Kennedy and Robert Armstrong
Wade Boteler and Carole Lombard
Wade Boteler and Carole Lombard
Wade Boteler, Charles Sellon, Gertrude Sutton
Wade Boteler, Charles Sellon, Gertrude Sutton
Wade Boteler and Charles Sellon
Wade Boteler and Charles Sellon
Wade Boteler and Robert Armstrong
Wade Boteler and Robert Armstrong
Warner Richmond, Louis Payne, Sam Hardy
Warner Richmond, Louis Payne, Sam Hardy