Corsair (November 28, 1931)
Released on November 28, 1931: A football star with a job on Wall Street gets away from the corruption on Wall Street by become a pirate stealing Prohibition Liquor from West Indies Gangsters.
Directed by Roland West
Written by Walton Green, Josephine Lovett and Roland West
The Actors: Chester Morris (John Hawks), Thelma Todd (Alison Corning), Fred Kohler (Big John), Ned Sparks (Slim), Emmett Corrigan (Stephen Corning), William Austin (Richard Bentinck), Frank McHugh ('Chub' Hopping), Frank Rice (Fish Face), Mayo Methot (Sophie), Gay Seabrook (Susie Grenoble), Addie McPhail (Jean Phillips), Al Hill (first mate of the Corsair), Pat Hartigan (unknown), Sidney D'Albrook (unknown)
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Wall Street Pirates
Well, I am at a loss . . . I was going to tell you about director Roland West and his mistress, co-star of this movie, Thelma Todd. I was going to tell you about the mysterious death of Thelma Todd in December 1935 at the age of 29, with whispered theories that Roland West actually killed her and planted her body in her garage with a running car to make it look like suicide. I was going to tell you that some people have said that star of this movie, Chester Morris, was with director Roland West at his death and heard a whispered confession from the director. I was going to mention all of that, but the movie itself turned out to be a much better story than that.
This movie is pre-code, so no censors made changes to the script to make it tame and family friendly. No one stopped them from filming cold-blooded murder like seldom seen until after the Hays Office disappeared in the late 1960's.
In old movies none of the cheesecake girls get killed on screen by the gangsters . . . except in this one. In old movies death is 'gentle' - you will not see gangsters tying a case of Prohibition champagne to the legs of one of our pirates and tossing him overboard to his death. . . except in this one.
No one stopped them from filming one of the most amazing endings that you will see in any movie up until the 1987 Michael Douglas movie about Wall Street. The line between good guys and bad guys cannot be described as fuzzy . . . there is no discernable difference in the primal morality of any of the characters in this story.
No one stopped them from filming a story that twists and turns until you are dizzy and you will not . . . . I say it again, you will not . . . . in a million years be able to stop the movie before the final few minutes, and will not be able to predict how it will end. I dare you to try. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Chester Morris and Thelma Todd in Corsair
Thelma Todd as heiress Alison Corning
Chester Morris and his fans after the big football game against Yale
Chester Morris and Ned Sparks
Chester Morris and Thelma Todd at the party
Chester Morris as Johnny Hawks
Chester Morris is wooed by Thelma Todd
Emmett Corrigan and Chester Morris on Wall Street
Emmett Corrigan and Thelma Todd
Frank McHugh and Chester Morris
Frank McHugh and Mayo Methot
Frank McHugh dances with Thelma Todd
Frank McHugh on the crow's nest of the ship full of bootleg whiskey
Frank Rice as Fish Face
Frank Rice in Corsair
Fred Kohler and Chester Morris
Fred Kohler is tough bootleg gangster Big John
Mayo Methot as secretary Sophie
Mayo Methot makes love to Frank Rice
Mayo Methot says goodbye to Ned Sparks
Ned Sparks and Mayo Methot in Corsair
Ned Sparks and Mayo Methot
Ned Sparks is Slim in Corsair
Thelma Todd and Frank McHugh dancing at the party
Thelma Todd gives Chester Morris the 'look'
Thelma Todd as a stowaway on the pirate ship
William Austin as Richard Bentinck