The Law of Contact

Winterset (December 3, 1936)

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Burgess Meredith in Winterset
 

Released December 3, 1936: The son of an innocent man who was put to death returns to Brooklyn in search of the gangsters who committed the murder that his father was punished for.

Produced by Pandro S. Berman

Directed by Alfred Santell

The Actors: Burgess Meredith (Mio Romagna), Margo (Miriamne Esdras), Eduardo Ciannelli (Trock Estrella), Maurice Moscovitch (Papa Esdras), Paul Guilfoyle (Garth Esdras), Edward Ellis (Judge Gaunt), Stanley Ridges (Shadow), Mischa Auer (radical), Willard Robertson (policeman in the square), Alec Craig (hobo), John Carradine (Bartolomeo Romagna), Myron McCormick (Carr), and Helen Jerome Eddy (Maria Romagna), Barbara Pepper (girl dancing in alley), Fernanda Eliscu (Piny), and George Humbert (Tony the hurdy gurdy man), Murray Alper (Louie), Paul Fix (Joe), Lucille Ball (girl dancing in alley), Bobby Caldwell (Mio as a boy), Jack Chefe (Shirley's dance partner), Alan Curtis (sailor), Eddie Hart (Daily Globe reporter), Grace Hayle (woman), Al Hill (gangster hit man), Otto Hoffman (elderly man), Allen 'Farina' Hoskins (hambone, dancing in the alley), Murray Kinnell (Professor Dean Liggett), Arthur Loft (District Attorney), Frank Marlowe (Tommy), Frank Mills (witness to paymaster's murder), Frances Morris (Dean Liggett's secretary), Edwin Stanley (courtroom witness), John Tringali (Trock's barber)

 
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The Love of Life and the Fear of Death

You may remember Burgess Meredith from the television show ‘Batman’ where he was the dastardly Penguin, or you may remember him from his role in the Sylvester Stallone ‘Rocky’ movies, or maybe you remember his hilarious lines in the movie ‘Grumpy Old Men.’

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1907, most of his acting parts were character parts, and he was rarely selected as the leading man. This is his first motion picture, and author Maxwell Anderson chose him to be the leading man for the Broadway production of this gangster adventure and again when the play was filmed in Hollywood.

Maxwell Anderson not only wrote this Academy Award nominated story, but also penned the ‘Key Largo’ gangster classic featuring Humphry Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Edward G. Robinson.

While newcomer Burgess Meredith was the leading man, the legendary actor John Carradine had only a small but important role in the beginning of the story as the immigrant father who died in the electric chair for a crime he did not commit. Three gangsters stole the immigrant father’s car and killed a man to steal the payroll money that he was carrying. No one saw the killers, but they did see the license plate of the car used, and the owner of the car was put to death for the robbery and murder.

Fast forward 16 years and Burgess Meredith, as the grown son of the innocent man who died, has returned to New York City and he will search the small Winterset neighborhood under the Brooklyn Bridge for evidence of his dead father’s innocence. He will first meet a young girl and fall in love . . . . But she turns out to be the sister of one of the henchmen involved in the murder.

The gangster and the other henchman will also enter the picture, and even the judge who sentenced the innocent father to death. This dark crime adventure in the mean streets of Great Depression era Brooklyn graphically demonstrates the life and death struggle of working class immigrants trying to survive in the land of opportunity.

Yet, while the fear of death is a constant companion, we will also see the spontaneous love of life that can be had when these same people forget their woes and dance in the dark alley to the music of a hurdy gurdy man. Two of the girls dancing in the alley are actresses Barbara Pepper and Lucille Ball. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Margo
Margo
Stanley Ridges
Stanley Ridges
Alan Curtis and William Robertson
Alan Curtis and William Robertson
Alec Craig
Alec Craig
Alec Craig
Alec Craig
Barbara Pepper
Barbara Pepper
Bobby Caldwell
Bobby Caldwell
Bobby Caldwell and Helen Jerome Eddy
Bobby Caldwell and Helen Jerome Eddy
Bobby Caldwell
Bobby Caldwell
Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith and Maurice Moscovitch
Burgess Meredith and Maurice Moscovitch
Burgess Meredith and Margo
Burgess Meredith and Margo
Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Eduardo Ciannelli
Eduardo Ciannelli
Eduardo Ciannelli and Burgess Meredith
Eduardo Ciannelli and Burgess Meredith
Eduardo Ciannelli
Eduardo Ciannelli
Edward Ellis
Edward Ellis
Edward Ellis
Edward Ellis
Helen Jerome Eddy and John Carradine
Helen Jerome Eddy and John Carradine
Helen Jerome Eddy
Helen Jerome Eddy
John Carradine
John Carradine
John Carradine
John Carradine
Margo
Margo
Margo and Paul Guilfoyle
Margo and Paul Guilfoyle
Margo and Paul Guilfoyle
Margo and Paul Guilfoyle
Margo kisses Burgess Meredith
Margo kisses Burgess Meredith
Margo and Burgess Meredith
Margo and Burgess Meredith
Margo and Paul Guilfoyle
Margo and Paul Guilfoyle
Margo and Burgess Meredith
Margo and Burgess Meredith
Margo
Margo
Maurice Moscovitch
Maurice Moscovitch
Maurice Moscovitch and Margo
Maurice Moscovitch and Margo
Maurice Moscovitch
Maurice Moscovitch
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Murray Kinnell
Murray Kinnell
Paul Guilfoyle and Burgess Meredith
Paul Guilfoyle and Burgess Meredith
Paul Guilfoyle and Eduardo Cianelli
Paul Guilfoyle and Eduardo Cianelli
Paul Guilfoyle and Maurice Moscovitch
Paul Guilfoyle and Maurice Moscovitch
Paul Guilfoyle
Paul Guilfoyle
Paul Guilfoyle
Paul Guilfoyle
Stanley Ridges
Stanley Ridges
Stanley Ridges
Stanley Ridges
Willard Robertson
Willard Robertson
Willard Robertson
Willard Robertson