The Law of Contact

Motive for Revenge (May 15, 1936)

Irene Hervey in Motive for Revenge

Released on May 15, 1935: Barry's mother-in-law nags him until he becomes a bank robber so that he can take care of his wife and mother in law in the style that his mother in law demands. After prison he wants revenge, but things get more complicated than he can handle.

Directed by Burt P. Lynwood

The Actors: Donald Cook (Barry Webster), Irene Hervey (Muriel Webster-King), Doris Lloyd (Mrs. Fleming), Edwin Maxwell (William King), Le Strange Millman (District Attorney Milroy), Russell Simpson (McAllister), John Kelly (Detective Larkin), Edwin Argus (Detective Red), Billy West (Ray, convict), Wheeler Oakman (Doane), Frank LaRue (Warden), Fern Emmett (Mrs. Kenilworthy, housekeeper), Dorothea Wolbert (Annie, maid), Bobby Burns (Milroy's secretary), Jack Cheatham (Policeman Duffy), Charles K. French (elderly nightclub patron), Fred Howard (convict), Carl Mathews (convict), Charles McAvoy (Ripley, convict), Alexander Pollard (King's butler), Jack Richardson (convict), Pietro Sosso (Embassy Club guest), Harry Strang (convict).


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Are you married? Do you like your Mother-in-Law? They are typically painted as horrible people, but most of them are probably good and caring people. Most of them . . . In this murder mystery thriller, Muriel's mother makes the wicked witch of the West seem angelic. With the Hays Office demanding that crime never pays, we can predict the ending, but it may not be the ending that we are all rooting for. Pop your white kernel popcorn and drizzle lots of warm melted butter on it, and enjoy a murder thriller that will take you down a very different path than you have ever been before.

As our movie opens, Barry and Muriel are having breakfast when an expensive item arrives for Muriel from the local departement store for $300 C.O.D. Barry, a simple bank clerk, does not have that kind of money, and asks her to send it back. Muriel doesn't even know where it came from. Then Muriel's mother enters, and says that she ordered it for her daughter. The mother-in-law nags Barry, telling him that he is doing a very poor job of caring for her and her daughter, and that her daughter deserves much better. Barry snaps, and becomes a bank robber to shut the mother-in-law up. Of course, he is caught and sent to prison for seven years. Muriel promises to wait for him, but Mother has other ideas. Soon Muriel gets a divorce and marries a wealthy older man who can provide the riches that Muriel's Mother desires. But one day Barry gets out of prison, and one of his convict buddies from prison promises to help him get revenge on his ex-wife and her new wealthy husband. So Barry goes to the mansion one night when Muriel's husband is supposed to be away from home. But her husband secretly returns to the house and discovers Muriel's ex-husband in the closet and pulls out his gun. Barry talks his way out of getting shot, and starts to leave when he sees Muriel's husband point his gun at Muriel intending to shoot her. Barry pulls out a gun and aims it at Muriel's husband, and Muriel pulls out a gun and aims it at her husband. - - - A shot rings out, and the husband falls dead. Did Muriel kill her husband? Did Barry kill Muriel's husband? Was there anyone else in the house with a gun in their hand? Did the butler do it? No, the butler was off that night. I'm secretly hoping that the Mother-in-law did it, but that is not to be.

Munch your popcorn, sip on your soda pop, and follow this mystery to it's bitter-sweet, but unpredictable ending.