Jigsaw (January 8, 1951)

Jigsaw
 

Released on March 11, 1949: (running time 1 hour and 11 minutes) District Attorney Howard Malloy chases gangsters in the big city.

Directed by Fletcher Markle

The Actors: Franchot Tone (Prosecuting Attorney Howard Malloy), Jean Wallace (Barbara Whitfield, nightclub singer), Myron McCormick (Charles Riggs, newspaper reporter), Marlene Dietrich (cameo, nightclub patron leaving the Blue Angel), Henry Fonda (cameo, nightclub waiter), Brenda Frazier (cameo, nightclub patron), John Garfield (man reading newspaper outside the Angel's place), Burgess Meredith (cameo, Jack, the bartender), Marc Lawrence (Angelo Agostini), Winifred Lenihan (Mrs. Grace Hartley), Doe Avedon (Caroline Riggs, sister of Charlie Riggs), Hedley Rainnie (Sigmund Kosterich), Walter Vaughan (District Attorney Frank Walker), George Breen (Knuckles Miller, Angel's henchman), Robert Gist (Tommy Quigley, investigator for D.A.'s office), Hester Sondergaard (Mrs. Borg, widow of the murdered man), Luella Gear (pet shop owner), Alexander Campbell (Stuart Pemberton, the fixer), Robert Noe (Tom Waldron Jr., radio executive), Alexander Lockwood (Harry Nichols, newspaper publisher), Ken Smith (police detective), Alan MacAteer (Museum guard), Manuel Aparicio (warehouse guard), Brainerd Duffield (butler), Marsha Hunt (cameo, Callahan, Mrs. Hartley's secretary), Leonard Lyons (cameo, himself, newspaper columnist outside pet shop), Fletcher Markle (director, cameo, nightclub patron), Everett Sloane (cameo, Sam the 'milkman' delivering scotch)

 

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Henry Fonda, Marlene Dietrich, and the Corrupt City

There are few things I enjoy more than digging into the background of an old movie to discover a ‘wow’ story about one of the characters. This is a typical story about corruption in the city and one District Attorney’s search for ‘Mr. Big.’ This plot has been used in other movies before and since, and has few real surprises, as we follow the trail of corruption. Unfortunately, I could not discover the question that perplexed me most, and humbly ask for your help to discover anything about the superstars in this movie. The last screen of the movie is an homage to the unnamed super stars that appeared in the film, but were not credited on the list of actors.

When this low-budget crime-busting story was filmed in 1949, Henry Fonda was a movie star that could command huge salaries and the best camera close-up shots. For this movie, he decided to be a waiter in a nightclub that wasn’t on screen long enough or in good enough lighting to be recognized. Why did he want to do this cameo?

Marlene Dietrich became an instant star in the 1930 German movie, “The Blue Angel.” In this story, the nightclub is named the Blue Angel, and the legendary actress with the bedroom eyes is a patron in the nightclub that stands up and leaves the nightclub as we are entering it. The nightclub singer seems to have a voice suspiciously similar to Marlene Dietrich. Her face is recognizable for the brief moment that she is on screen leaving the nightclub, but then she is gone, with no words, and no close-up. Why did she want to do this cameo appearance? It was not common in 1949 for famous actors to do such brief cameos, and I don’t think that up to this time there were ever this many in one story.

Some of the other uncredited famous people were actor John Garfield, Marsha Hunt, well-known New York City newspaper columnist Leonard Lyons, actor Everett Sloane, most remembered for his role in “Citizen Kane,” Brenda Frazier, a famous New York City socialite, and Burgess Meredith, on screen for a few seconds as a bartender. Why, oh why so many unlikely people in uncredited cameos in a low-budget “B” crime adventure? You tell me, please! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Alexander Campbell
Alexander Campbell
Alexander Campbell, Hedley Rainnie
Alexander Campbell, Hedley Rainnie
Alexander Lockwood
Alexander Lockwood
Doe Avedon
Doe Avedon
Doe Avedon, Franchot Tone
Doe Avedon, Franchot Tone
Doe Avedon, Franchot Tone
Doe Avedon, Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone, Jean Wallace
Franchot Tone, Jean Wallace
Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone
Doe Avedon, Franchot Tone
Doe Avedon, Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone
Hester Sondergaard
Hester Sondergaard
Hester Sondergaard
Hester Sondergaard
Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace, Franchot Tone
Jean Wallace, Franchot Tone
Jean Wallace, Franchot Tone
Jean Wallace, Franchot Tone
Winifred Lenihan
Winifred Lenihan
Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace, Franchot Tone
Jean Wallace, Franchot Tone
Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace
John Garfield
John Garfield
Leonard Lyons
Leonard Lyons
Marc Lawrence
Marc Lawrence
Marc Lawrence
Marc Lawrence
Marsha Hunt
Marsha Hunt
Myron McCormick
Myron McCormick
Myron McCormick
Myron McCormick
Robert Noe
Robert Noe
Walter Vaughn
Walter Vaughn
Walter Vaughn
Walter Vaughn
Winifred Lenihan
Winifred Lenihan
Winifred Lenihan, Alexander Lockwood
Winifred Lenihan, Alexander Lockwood
Winifred Lenihan, Franchot Tone
Winifred Lenihan, Franchot Tone