The Drag-Net (April 15, 1936)
Released on April 15, 1936: (running time 59 minutes) An upper crust playboy lawyer who is forced by his father to work as a lowly Assistant District Attorney gets tangled up with big city gangsters when a girl is murdered at a nightclub he is partying at.
Directed by Vin Moore
Written by Willard Mack and James Mulhauser.
The Actors: Rod La Rocque (Lawrence Thomas Jr.), Marian Nixon (Katherine 'Kit' van Buren), Betty Compson (Mollie Cole), Jack Adair (Joseph 'Joe' Ross), John Dilson (Arnold Crane), Edward Keane (Arthur Hill), Donald Kerr (Al Wilson), Joseph W. Girard (Thomas J. Harrison, District Attorney), John Bantry (Fred Cole), Edward LeSaint (Lawrence Thomas Sr.), Allen Mathews (Spike Miller), Sidney Payne (Mike, headwaiter), Budd Buster (stuttering man), Allan Cavan (Police Chier), William Gould (Police Detective), Murdock MacQuarrie (hot check gambler), Gertrude Messinger (switchboard operator), Hal Price (Police Dispatcher).
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Lawrence Thomas Jr. is solid upper crust. His grandfather was a wealthy lawyer, his father is a wealthy lawyer, and Larry is a lawyer, but he isn't really interested in the law. He would rather party all night with his friends at the nightclubs, and show up at the law office around noon without any intention of doing much work. But this day, father decides that it is time to cut junior off, and make him fend for himself in the world. He informs Larry that he is no longer part of the law firm, and his money will be cut off. Dad has arranged for Larry to get a low-paying job as the city Assistant District Attorney. But that job will not begin until tomorrow morning, and tonight Larry wants to party one more time with his girlfriend Kit, the society editor of the local newspaper.
They are having a fine time at a nightclub that features a casino room for gambling when Kit asks larry for a nickel to use the pay phone. Larry smiles and gives her a dime, telling her to make two calls. Kit opens the door to a phone booth and a lady falls out of the booth, dead as a door nail. Hey, aren't all door nails 'dead?' Are they ever 'not dead?' Are door nails different from other nails? Anyway, it turns out that there is a big gang of gangsters that include a 'Mr. Big,' and the owner of the nightclub, and a snitch in the District Attorney's office. It seems that the dead gal has a husband in jail who was framed by these guys and is serving time in jail that they should be serving. And the gal was pretty upset, so one of the guys hsa killed her, but which one? Larry struggles to get up to speed on the case, leaving all of his playboy party thoughts behind. Just as it looks like he might be ready to close in on the gang, they frame him for murder, and now he is the subject of a massive city Drag-Net. Will Larry go to the pen for murder? Will the big man leader of the gang get away again, because he is a friend of the police and all of the city leaders? Will Larry's girlfriend help him evade the police as they all search for him? Will Larry ever get the chance to clear himself and become a business-like productive member of society? Will your bowl of hot buttered white kernel popcorn last until the marriage proposal?