Held for Ransom (June 17, 1938)
Released on June 17, 1938: (running time 58 minutes) A wealthy candy maker is kidnapped, but when his ransom is paid, he is still not released, and suspicion falls on the nephew who would take over the business if the old man is not returned, and it is up to a young female detective to discover the truth.
Directed by Clarence Bricker
Written by Barry Barringer
The Actors: Blanche Mehaffey (Betty Mason), Grant Withers (Larry Scott), Bruce Warren (Don, Larry's pal), Jack Mulhall (Detective J.J. Morrison), Kenneth Harlan (Boss McBride), Harry Harvey (mole, henchman), Eddie Foster (Joe, kidnapper), Walter McGrail (Detective Donnelly), Moore Marriott (Sam Hathaway), Robert McKenzie (storekeeper Jed), Leo Daugherty (Constable Lemuel), Joe Devlin (Mark, garage owner), Earl Douglas (desk clerk), Joseph W. Girard (Police Chief Howell), Ben Hall (passing motorist), Sterling Holloway (RFD mailaman), Richard Lancaster (Herbert Scott), John McCollum (old man Kimball), Merrill McCormick (Aztec Cafe patron), Spec O'Donnell (Bill Brooks, delivery boy)
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Are you ready for a rousing kidnapping caper with lots of complications . . . and instead of a hard-boiled male detective like Bogart or Dick Powell, our hero is a pretty girl working for the G-men. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with lots of warm melted butter on it and buckle up for a detective mystery with lots of action packed adventure and death defying crises.
Our movie opens with the kidnapping of the owner of a large candy business. The ransom has been paid by his nephew and heir, Larry Scott. But old man Scott has not been freed, and suspicion grows around nephew Larry, with the coppers thinking that the nephew wants to get rid of the uncle and take over the business. So the G-men, federal investigators, come onto the case, and they assign their top female investigator to get close to Larry and solve this case. Betty Scott manages to meet Larry in a local bar, and our adventure begins. The action soon moves to a wilderness camping resort, and Betty is all over the place watching and hearing all of the suspects as they make their way around this plot. She is climbing out of second story windows via a rope made of sheets, canoeing across the lake to beat the car driving around it, and is always a step ahead of the gangsters . . . that is . . . until the grand finale, when she is taken captive by the crooks, and the leading man is left to die in a mill that is set ablaze.
You won't see an academy award plot or dialogue in this one, but you can enjoy a good bowl of popcorn and a pretty good cops and robbers story with a lovely leading lady instead of a tough male detective, which was very rare in 1938.