The Law of Contact

Cross Examination (February 14, 1932)

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H.B. Warner and Natalie Moorehead in Cross Examination
 

Released on February 14, 1932: (running time 62 minutes) A man is on trial for killing his father, while the real killer watches from the courtroom audience.

Produced by Louis Weiss

Directed by Richard Thorpe

The Actors: H.B. Warner (Gerald Waring, defense attorney), Sally Blane (Grace Varney), Natalie Moorhead (Inez Wells), Edmund Breese (Dwight Simpson, the prosecutor), Don Dillaway (David Wells), William V. Mong (Emory Wells), Sarah Padden (Mary Stevens), Niles Welch (Warren Slade, family attorney), Wilfred Lucas (Judge William Hollister), Nita Cavalier (Etta Billings, downstairs maid), Frank Clark (court clerk), John Webb Dillon (Lieutenant Elkins), Margaret Fealy (Mrs. Martha Gregory, housekeeper), Rodney Hildebrand (manhole worker), Wayne Lamont (Ralph Varney), Murdock MacQuarrie (court officer), Lee Phelps (police officer John Shannon Myles), Alexander Pollard (Raymond Boggs, butler), Jack Richardson (police detective at railway station)

 

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The Price of a Married Woman's Freedom

As our pre-code murder mystery begins we are watching the trial of a young man who seems to have murdered his father. When the Hays Office began censoring what could and could not be talked about and shown on the big movie screen, the most obvious rules were those surrounding illegitimate love and illegitimate children. This drama exposes both elements.

David Wells, the son of a wealthy man, has been estranged from his father for many years. We don’t know why this father and son are not on friendly terms, but it seems to be so. Finally, after many years, the son calls his father and asks if he can visit. The son visits his father, and after the son leaves the family mansion, his father is found murdered.

All of the evidence, every little shred of evidence, points to the son. The courtroom testimony is very damning to the young man. We will discover that when he left his father’s mansion, there was a young lady waiting for him in his car, . . . A married lady. But the young man is not just with any married lady, he is with the wife of a gangster bootlegger. A man’s character should not be a basis for guilt, but in real life it often is, and he may be assumed to be guilty by association.

The young man and the married lady spend that night together, and the days following. As this is revealed in the courtroom, with no other suspect in sight, it looks like the man will certainly be convicted and die for a murder that he may, or may not have committed.

But then, suddenly, as the trial is about to end, an unknown woman in the courtroom audience speaks in a quiet, sad voice, asking if she might testify, because she has a story to tell that will clear up the matter. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Alexander Pollard
Alexander Pollard
Don Dillaway
Don Dillaway
Don Dillaway and H.B. Warner
Don Dillaway and H.B. Warner
Don Dillaway
Don Dillaway
Don Dillaway and H.B. Warner
Don Dillaway and H.B. Warner
Don Dillaway
Don Dillaway
Edmund Breese and John Webb Dillon
Edmund Breese and John Webb Dillon
Edmund Breese and Niles Welch
Edmund Breese and Niles Welch
Edmund Breese and Sally Blane
Edmund Breese and Sally Blane
Frank Clark and Alexander Pollard
Frank Clark and Alexander Pollard
H.B. Warner and Alexander Pollard
H.B. Warner and Alexander Pollard
H.B. Warner and Margaret Fealy
H.B. Warner and Margaret Fealy
H.B. Warner and Wayne Lamont
H.B. Warner and Wayne Lamont
Jack Richardson and John Webb Dillon
Jack Richardson and John Webb Dillon
John Webb Dillon
John Webb Dillon
Lee Phelps
Lee Phelps
Margaret Fealy
Margaret Fealy
Margaret Fealy
Margaret Fealy
Natalie Moorhead
Natalie Moorhead
Natalie Moorhead and Niles Welch
Natalie Moorhead and Niles Welch
Niles Welch and Natalie Moorhead
Niles Welch and Natalie Moorhead
Nita Cavalier
Nita Cavalier
Nita Cavalier and H.B. Warner
Nita Cavalier and H.B. Warner
Sally Blane
Sally Blane
Sally Blane
Sally Blane
Sarah Padden
Sarah Padden
Sarah Padden
Sarah Padden
Wilfred Lucas
Wilfred Lucas
Wilfred Lucas
Wilfred Lucas
William V. Mong
William V. Mong
William V. Mong and Alexander Pollard
William V. Mong and Alexander Pollard
William V. Mong
William V. Mong