The Midnight Lady (May 15, 1932)
Released on May 15, 1932: The owner of a speakeasy who ran away from her family because of an overbearing mother-in-law goes to prison to protect her daughter who she believes killed an artist.
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Written by Edward T. Lowe Jr.
The Actors: Sarah Padden (Nita St. George), John Darrow (Bert), Claudia Dell (Jean Austin), Theodore von Eltz (Byron Crosby), Lina Basquette (Mona Sebastian), Montagu Love (Harvey Austin), Lucy Beaumont (Grandma Austin), Donald Keith (Don Austin), Brandon Hurst (District Attorney), Wayne Lamont (Tony), Allan Cavan (defense attorney), Henry Hall (the Judge), Carl M. Leviness (speakeasy waiter), William H. O'Brien (the Austin family butler)
Too Much Mother-in-Law!
How much mother-in-law is enough . . . how much is too much? I have been blessed because I have never yet had a mother-in-law that was overbearing and bossy. But I know that they exist, and I pity the poor fools who need to put up with them. Nita (Sarah Padden) is an older gal who owns a speakeasy in 1932 Prohibition America. When she was a young bride and mother of two little kids her mother-in-law lived with the wealthy society family and was so bossy that the young mother ran away from home. One night when she is closing up for the night she lets a young and very drunk young lawyer stay overnight in her home above the speakeasy. She learns that the young man is dating her daughter, who she has not seen since she ran away from home many years ago. Nita discovers that her daughter is a bit of a wild child and likes to party in a speakeasy all night long . . . the apple seldom falls very far from the tree, you might say. Nita gives the young man some advice . . . she tells him that if his girlfriend likes to party, it is better that she parties with him than having her party with other men that might not be as gallant as him. This leads to that, and Nita meets her now-grown daughter Jean Austin (Claudia Dell), and a friendship ensues. When Nita discovers that her daughter is nightclubbing with a notorious artist known for his wandering ways, she follows them to his apartment. When the playboy (Theodore von Eltz) discovers that his long time and very jealous girlfriend is in the other room he excuses himself from Jean and goes to the other room to confront his main girlfriend . . . a shot rings out and the playboy is dead on the floor. Jean rushes into the room and sees the artist lying dead on the floor and then rushes out of the apartment. Nita is just arriving at the apartment to try to get Jean away from the artist and as Jean is rushing out of the apartment Nita rushes in, and spotting the dead man on the floor she assumes that Jean has shot the man. Nita wipes off the gun, but before she can leave visitors arrive and spot Nita holding the gun over the dead artist. After a quick trial Nita goes to prison for killing the artist, believing that she is saving the life and reputation of her daughter Jean. Wow, what a tangled mess this one is. And old mother-in-law Austin of course needs to get her salty comments in about the wicked Nita without even realizing that Nita was her daughter-in-law and mother of Jean. The young lawyer and Nita's daughter, still not knowing that Nita is the real mother of Jean, try to discover the truth about the murder of the artist while Nita is rotting away in prison. Will Bert and Jean be able to clear Nita and bring the real killer to justice? Will Jean ever discover that Nita is her long lost mother? Will mother-in-law Austin ever get her comeuppance? Will mother Nita ever get out of prison? Will the speakeasy ever get a shipment of champagne that comes up as well as it goes down? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.
Claudia Dell as Jean Austin
John Darrow as lawyer/boyfriend Bert
Sarah Padden as Nita St. George, Jean's mother
Allan Cavan, John Darrow and Sarah Padden
Brandon Hurst as the District Attorney
Claudia Dell and Theodore von Eltz and Sarah Padden in her speakeasy
Claudia Dell and Theodore von Eltz
Claudia Dell kisses John Darrow
Donald Keith and Claudia Dell
John Darrow comforts Sarah Padden
Lina Basquette as Mona Sebastian
Nina Basquette is questioned by the District Attorney as she tries to leave the country
Lucy Beaumont and Claudia Dell
Montague Love as Harvey Austin
Sarah Padden on the witness stand being questioned by Brandon Hurst
Sarah Padden meets Claudia Dell
Sarah Padden and Theodore von Eltz in her speakeasy
Sarah Padden as Nita St. George, owner of the speakeasy
Sarah Padden in The Midnight Lady
Theodore von Eltz as artist Byron Crosby in The Midnight Lady