Hard Guy (October 17, 1941)
Released on October 17, 1941: Vic runs a nightclub that dangles pretty women in front of wealthy single men in order to marry them off, followed by a high-priced annulment.
Directed by Elmer Clifton
Written by Oliver Drake.
The Actors: Jack La Rue (Vic Monroe), Mary Healy (Julie Cavanaugh), Kane Richmond (Steve Randall), Iris Adrian (Goldie Duvall), Gayle Mellott (Doris Starr), Jack Mulhall (Tex Cassidy), Howard Banks (Anthony Tremaine Jr.), Ben Taggart (Ben Sherwood), C. Montague Shaw (Anthony Tremaine Sr.), Inna Gest (Mona Day), Arthur Gardner (Dick Clayton), Tristram Coffin (Tremaine's assistant), Joel Friedkin (Hesekiah Heckeroth), William Gould (Bill Randall), Milburn Morante (Clem, wedding witness), Robert Walker (Pete, bartender).
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Jack La Rue was acting on Broadway when a Hollywood producer noticed him and took him west to act in movies. He was slated to be a tough gangster, but Humphry Bogart and George Raft beat him out of his first movie roles. He finally became typecast as a mean gangster, although he has acted in several movies where he wasn't so mean. In Ernest Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms' he was a priest. But in this hard-boiled movie he plays the tough gangster part to perfection. He is Vic Monroe, the owner of a nightclub that caters to wealthy single drunks.
Vic isn't happy with just selling over-priced booze, so he works very hard to match his lovely young nightclub girls with his wealthy single customers. He and his henchmen then make sure that the rich young man marries one of his 'girls,' and then they cause a wild scene so that the wealthy father rushes in and demands an annulment, along with a large finacial settlement for the agrieved bride. But things go terribly wrong when Doris and her wealthy husband decide that they really love each other and do not want an annulment. She is ready to give back the 50 thousand dollars that she got to sign her annulment papers. Vic arranges to drug the groom, and then he shoots and kills Doris, framing her new husband as he lays on the floor, out cold. Doris' sister Julie is in town to visit, and after talking to the accused killer, believes that Vic had something to do with the murder. So Julie takes a job with Vic at his nightclub, and gets tangled up in his racket, and falls in love with the son of a Senator from a western state. The plot gets really messy and it looks like Vic will be able to either mess up Julie's life also, or maybe even kill her, just like he killed her sister. But the western Senator's son puts on his six-shooters and goes after Vic to settle accounts. You'll see in this one why Jack La Rue became the man that movie goers loved to hate.
Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn for this one, and enjoy a big city crime adventure with the tough city mobster against the poor saps from small town America.