The Law of Contact

Midnight (March 7, 1934)

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Helen Flint in Midnight
 

Released on March 7, 1934: A jury foreman is the key to sending a young woman to the electric chair for killing her cheating husband, and his world turns upside down when, on the night of the woman's execution, at midnight as the condemned woman is dying, his young daughter kills her boyfriend for dumping her, and she may also go to the chair.

Directed by Chester Erskine

The Actors: Sidney Fox (Stella Weldon), O.P. Heggie (Edward Weldon), Henry Hull (Bob Nolan), Humphrey Bogart (Gar Boni), Margaret Wycherly (Mrs. Weldon), Lynn Overman (Joe Biggers), Katherine Wilson (Ada Biggers), Richard Whorf (Arthur Weldon), Granville Bates (Henry McGrath), Cora Witherspoon (Elizabeth McGrath), Moffat Johnston (District Attorney Plunkett), Henry O'Neill (defense attorney Ingersoll), Helen Flint (Ethel Saxon)

 
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It's Been A Large Evening

A woman kills the husband she loves as he is about to leave her, and at her trial the foreman of the jury wants to ask her a question, and her answer to the question seals her fate, and sends her to die in the electric chair. Fast forward to the evening of the execution and we join the jury foreman and his family at their home. In a few hours the condemned woman will die . . . and papa Weldon, played by actor O.P. Heggie, is terribly distraught . . . he believes that the jury did the right thing by sending her to the chair, but at the same time he is disturbed about sending a young lady to die a horrible death in the electric chair. Should the sentence have been something less than death? If the gal had been able to get a better lawyer could she have avoided death? Is it even proper to send a woman to death? His family is around him as the night progresses . . . His daughter Stella is there, who is seeing a sharp fellow that she met at the trial and falls in love with Gar Boni, a small time hoodlum, played by a very young Humphrey Bogart. His other daughter and son-in-law are there also, and the son-in-law who cannot find work takes some money from a reporter to allow the reporter to visit as a friend and get the inside scoop to the family reactions as the lady dies. Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Robert come to spend the evening and give moral support. And the minutes tick by, and the lady is killed . . . and the father has determined that murder and murderers must be punished, and that the condemned lady should have died. Then . . . as the dust is clearing and life is about to return to normal, the bombshell explodes. Daughter Stella returns from seeing Gar Boni the hood, and she has a gun in her hand, and she confesses to all that she just killed Boni because he was leaving her. Just as the condemned woman dies in the electric chair, the daughter of the jury foreman tells everyone that she just shot her boyfriend in his car as he is about to dump her and leave town. Now, papa Weldon in an instant realizes the spot he is in . . . if he stands firm that women should be electrocuted if found guilty of murder, his own daughter will be put to death now and he has boxed himself into the position of not being able to plead for any less. Wow, what is a father to do now? What would you do? What would most people do? What does the reporter suggest? What does her brother suggest? How does the District Attorney react? Will the movie end with another woman going to the electric chair? Is the law the same for everybody? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and find out for yourself.

Sidney Fox as daughter Stella Weldon
Sidney Fox as daughter Stella Weldon
Cora Witherspoon as Aunt Elizabeth McGrath
Cora Witherspoon as Aunt Elizabeth McGrath
Granville Bates as Uncle Robert McGrath
Granville Bates as Uncle Robert McGrath
Helen Flint as Ethel Saxon
Helen Flint as Ethel Saxon
Henry Hull and Lynne Overman
Henry Hull and Lynne Overman
Henry Hull as reporter Bob Nolan
Henry Hull as reporter Bob Nolan
Henry O'Neill and O.P. Heggie
Henry O'Neill and O.P. Heggie
Henry O'Neill as defense attorney Ingersoll
Henry O'Neill as defense attorney Ingersoll
Humphrey Bogart as Gar Boni at the trial
Humphrey Bogart as Gar Boni at the trial
Humphrey Boni and Sidney Fox in his roadster just before he is killed
Humphrey Bogart as Gar Boni, and Sidney Fox as Stella Weldon, in his roadster just before he is killed
Humphrey Bogart kisses Sidney Fox before he leaves for Chicago
Humphrey Bogart kisses Sidney Fox before he leaves for Chicago
Humphrey Bogart meets Sidney Fox at the trial
Humphrey Bogart meets Sidney Fox at the trial
Humphrey Bogart says goodbye to Sidney Fox
Humphrey Bogart says goodbye to Sidney Fox
Katherine Wilson as Ada Biggers
Katherine Wilson as Ada Biggers
Lynn Overman and Henry Hull
Lynn Overman and Henry Hull
Lynn Overman, O.P. Heggie and Henry Hull listen to District Attorney Plunkett
Lynn Overman, O.P. Heggie and Henry Hull listen to District Attorney Plunkett
Moffat Johnston and O.P. Heggie
Moffat Johnston and O.P. Heggie
Moffat Johnston as District Attorney Plunkett
Moffat Johnston as District Attorney Plunkett
Moffat Johnston as D.A. Plunkett in Midnight
Moffat Johnston as D.A. Plunkett in Midnight
O.P. Heggie and Henry Hull
O.P. Heggie and Henry Hull
O.P. Heggie and Lynne Overman
O.P. Heggie and Lynne Overman
O.P. Heggie and Sidney Fox
O.P. Heggie and Sidney Fox
O.P. Heggie as jury foreman Edward Weldon
O.P. Heggie as jury foreman Edward Weldon
O.P. Heggie, as jury foreman, asks the telling question
O.P. Heggie, as jury foreman, asks the telling question
Richard Whorf as son Arthur Weldon
Richard Whorf as son Arthur Weldon
Sidney Fox and Cora Witherspoon
Sidney Fox and Cora Witherspoon
Sidney Fox as Stella Weldon
Sidney Fox as Stella Weldon
Sidney Fox, as Stella Weldon, confesses to murder
Sidney Fox, as Stella Weldon, confesses to murder