Caught in the Act (January 17, 1941)
Released on January 17, 1941: The foreman of a construction company gets arrested on his daughter's wedding day when he is mistaken for a local gangster.
Produced by Ted Richmond
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Written by Robert James Cosgriff with screenplay by Al Martin
The Actors: Henry Armetta (Mike Ripportella), Iris Meredith (Lucy Ripportella), Robert Baldwin (reporter Jim Keene), Charles Miller (Leonard Brandon, construction company owner), Inez Palange (Mary Ripportella), Richard Terry (gangster Henderson), Joey Ray (gangster Davis), Maxine Leslie (Fay Kingman, gangsters moll), William Newell (Police Desk Sergeant Riley), Jack Cheatham (police detective), Fern Emmett (gossip), George McKay (Police Detective Howard), Frank O'Connor (policeman holding Mrs. Ripportella at home), Ralph Peters (Policeman taking finger prints), Rose Plumer (gossip)
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The Italian Cassanova and the Blonde with Red Lipstick
Enrico Armetta was born on the fourth of July in 1888. No, he wasn’t born in Philadelphia, or anywhere else in the United States. Enrico ‘Henry’ Armetta was born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. It wasn’t until he was fourteen years old that he got an urge to come to what was called the ‘New World,’ the greatest land of opportunity for anyone in Europe and Asia.
The fourteen-year-old boy ran away from home and snuck aboard a ship headed for America. He snuck off the ship when it arrived in New York. It didn’t take him long to get a job doing menial tasks at the Lambs Club, an expensive restaurant on West 44th street that was a favorite hangout for Broadway stars. Soon someone saw Henry’s bubbling enthusiasm for life and he was offered a character actor part in a Broadway play.
By the time he died in 1945, a few years after this movie was made, he had appeared in more than 150 motion pictures, usually as a character actor. In this story, he is the star of the show, and the whole plot revolves around his character, allowing us to enjoy the best of Henry Armetta.
Henry is Mike Ripportella, a construction boss for a company that builds the new offices and high-rise buildings in a fast-growing New York City. He has a wife at home, and a young daughter who is about to marry her sweetheart. Mike has everything he ever dreamed of – a good job, a wonderful wife, a daughter about to be married . . . what could go wrong?
It happens as Mike is driving home to give his daughter away at her wedding in the living room of his house. Mike is stopped at a traffic light when a beautiful young blonde woman jumps into his car. She forces him to drive away quickly, and after a terrifying high-speed chase through town, Mike stops his car a few blocks from his home and orders the blonde lady out of his car.
Mike doesn’t know it yet, but his life is about to careen out of control. He will be in jail soon instead of giving away his daughter at her wedding. Mike is a good fellow, just trying to live the good life in the country that he worked so hard to get to, but for some reason that he cannot understand, he is locked away in a jail cell. Once in jail he is joined by his boss, who is arrested, and then his wife is locked up, all because of a mysterious blonde lady who hijacked Mike and his car for a wild ride through town. Mike's American dream may become a nightmare if something doesn't happen soon. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Henry Armetta and Ralph Peters
Henry Armetta with lipstick on his cheek
Inez Palange and Henry Armetta
Inez Palange and Iris Meredith
Iris Meredith and Frank O'Connor
Iris Meredith and Robert Baldwin
Iris Meredith and Robert Baldwin
Joey Ray and Richard Terry
Ralph Peters and Henry Armetta
Robert Baldwin and Iris Meredith