Star Reporter (February 22, 1939)
Released February 22, 1939: The District Attorney's daughter Barbara likes Warren, the son of a newspaper baron, but the D.A. discovers that Warren's father may be one of the biggest crime bosses in the city.
Produced by E.B. Derr
Directed by Howard Bretherton
Written by John T. Neville
The Actors: Warren Hull (John Randolph and John Charles Benton), Marsha Hunt (Barbara Burnette), Wallis Clark (District Attorney William Burnette), Clay Clement (Whittaker), Morgan Wallace (Joe Draper and Chartles Benton), Virginia Howell (Mrs. Julia Randolph), Paul Fix (Clipper, safe cracker), Joseph Crehan (Gordon, newspaper city editor), Eddie Kane (Sam Grey), William Ruhl (Police investigator Lane), Effie Anderson (Molly the D.A.'s secretary), Lester Dorr (reporter Wilkins), Monte Collins (Reporter Hogan), Denis Tankard (Mason, Burnette's butler), Jack Gardner (Gil Blake), Kit Guard (Policeman guarding the cell), Lew Kelly (janitor), Dick Rush (policeman), Harry Semels (Mike), Harry Strang (Harry Strang), Ray Teal (crook), Robert J. Wilke (reporter)
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Chewing on a Stick of Dynamite
What a crazy twisted plot this crime drama is! Most of the cops and robbers movies from the 1930's and 1940's have a relatively straight line between the opening and conclusion, with a few red herrings and sub-plots to spice it up a bit. John Neville, the author of the screenplay, created a crime plot that is so twisted that after watching many noir crime thrillers, this one has such a complicated and amazing plot that it stands alone among crime and punishment motion pictures.
Our main character is John Randolph. He runs a big city newspaper that crusades against the mob. He is engaged to a girl whose father has just become the new crime-busting District Attorney. Sounds like a good match, eh? The perfect couple, maybe. Well, now John's father, who ran the newspaper before John, was killed by the mob before he could write a crime-busting story.
One night while the District Attorney, his daughter, John, and John’s mother are all together celebrating the upcoming marriage, a phone call interrupts them. The D.A.'s investigator was scheduled to have a meeting with a mob informer that was going to give information on the crime syndicate, but the informer gets killed by Joe Draper. This is where it gets really interesting, and really twisted. We encounter one surprise after another, all the way through.
Joe Draper signs a confession for killing the informer, and the District Attorney locks it up in his safe. With that confession not even the top mob lawyer will be able to get him off. The mob lawyer visits Draper in jail and tells him that he will not defend him because he has no chance of winning the case.
Then Joe Draper tells the lawyer that he has information that will blow the case wide open. Killer Joe Draper then tells the lawyer and us a secret that is so amazing and so damning for our star newspaper reporter that all bets are off for the prosecution of this killer. But there are more surprises to come, including the daughter of the District Attorney, our Star Reporter’s girlfriend, being arrested for murder.
I’m predicting that you will not only fail to predict the ending, but most of the twists and turns in the story will also be unexpected and surprising. This is not a typical cops and mobsters tale. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Clay Clement and Eddie Kane
Clay Clement and Morgan Wallace
Denis Tankard and Wallis Clark
Lew Kelly and Marsha Hunt
Marsha Hunt and Virginia Howell
Marsha Hunt and Warren Hull
Paul Fix and Clay Clement
Paul Fix and Morgan Wallace
Warren Hull and Marsha Hunt
Warren Hull, Wallis Clark and Lester Dorr
Warren Hull and Wallis Clark
Warren Hull and Morgan Wallace
William Ruhl and Warren Hull