The Zero Hour (May 26, 1939)

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The Zero Hour
 

Released on May 26, 1939: A Broadway actress is torn between her love for the two men in her life.

Directed by Sidney Salkow

The Actors: Frieda Inescort (Linda March), Otto Kruger (Julian Forbes), Adrienne Ames (Susan Pendleton), Donald Douglas (Brewster), Jane Darwell (Sophie), J.M. Kerrigan (Timothy the butler), Ann E. Todd (Beth), Leonard Carey (Benham the butler), Sarah Padden (Sister Theodosia), Ferris Taylor (Weber), Willard Parker (Lansdowne), Landers Stevens (doctor), Thomas Carr (young man), Winifred Drew (actress), Lee Ford (performer), Lloyd Ingraham (doctor), Joe McGuinn (car driver)

 

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Two Boys, Two Girls . . . and Tangled Love

In the old days of movies they would call this one a 'weeper' - but it is a stealth weeper - right up till the surprising ending it is not a weeper, but a love story about a woman who loves a little girl and the two men in her life. Our movie opens with new Broadway star Linda Marsh (Frieda Inescort) and the Broadway producer that made her a star, Julian Forbes (the amazing Otto Kruger). They are going to be married that evening, but on the way to the altar the producer is struck down by a hit-and-run driver and crippled for life. Our beautiful Broadway star still loves him even though he is confined to a wheel chair forever, and she goes on with her stellar career and with her love for her man. But he refuses to marry her now that he is a cripple, although he still loves her deeply and knows that she loves him. She is having thoughts of having a child, and since she cannot have one with Julian she discovers a little girl in an orphanage that she becomes very attached to. She believes that having the little girl will fill the empty space in her life with the crippled producer and thinks that the little girl will be a joy to both of them. The crippled producer agrees and looks forward to helping Linda raise the cute little girl. Ahhh . . . but there is a fly in the honey . . . Brewster, a wealthy widower also wants to adopt this particular little girl, and he gets custody of the girl before Linda can arrange for the adoption. Brewster allows Linda to visit the little girl and of course he falls in love with Linda and wants to marry her so that she can become the little girl's mother. Now what does Linda do? Should she abandon the crippled producer to make a life with Brewster and the little girl that she loves? Should she abandon her love for the little girl and stay with the crippled producer who she loves? . . . . . Friends, no matter how you mull this around in your mind . . . no matter what you decide should happen . . . no matter which man you believe that Linda will choose . . . I am betting that you will never, ever, ever predict an ending like the one that will happen. 1939 has been proclaimed by many to be the greatest year of motion picture history, and this story is certainly worthy of that. It is an almost lost, almost forgotten story, but in my book it is one of the great love stories of the year, yes, right along with the more heralded Love Affair with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunn. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter . . . grab a box of Kleenex for the final scene and enjoy the show.

Adrienne Ames and Donald Douglas
Adrienne Ames and Donald Douglas
Adrienne Ames as Susan Pendleton
Adrienne Ames as Susan Pendleton
Ann E. Todd, Frieda Inescort and Donald Douglas
Ann E. Todd, Frieda Inescort and Donald Douglas
Donald Douglas and Sarah Padden
Donald Douglas and Sarah Padden
Donald Douglas as Brewster
Donald Douglas as Brewster
Donald Douglas proposes to Frieda Inescort
Donald Douglas proposes to Frieda Inescort
Frieda Inescort and Ann E. Todd
Frieda Inescort and Ann E. Todd
Frieda Inescort and Jane Darwell
Frieda Inescort and Jane Darwell
J.M. Kerrigan as Timothy the butler
J.M. Kerrigan as Timothy the butler
Jane Darwell and Willard Parker
Jane Darwell and Willard Parker
Jane Darwell as Sophie
Jane Darwell as Sophie
Landers Stevens as the doctor
Landers Stevens as the doctor
Leonard Carey
Leonard Carey
Otto Kruger and Frieda Inescort
Otto Kruger and Frieda Inescort
Otto Kruger as Broadway Producer Julian Forbes
Otto Kruger as Broadway Producer Julian Forbes
Otto Kruger in The Zero Hour
Otto Kruger in The Zero Hour
Sarah Padden as Sister Theodosia
Sarah Padden as Sister Theodosia