Girls in Chains (May 17, 1943)
Released on May 17, 1943: (running time 1 hour and 10 minutes) A big city gangster rules everything and everyone in the city, except one determined school teacher.
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Written by Albert Beich and Edgar G. Ulmer
The Actors: Barbara Pepper (Ruth Martin), Arline Judge (Helen Martin), Jack Randall (Johnny Moon, gangster), Roger Clark (Frank Donovan, police investigator), Robin Raymond (Rita Randall, waitress), Dorothy Burgess (Mrs. Peters, deputy warden), Clancy Cooper (Mr. Marcus, jail warden), Patricia Knox (Jean Moon, Helen's sister), Sid Melton (Pinkhead), Russell Gaige (Mr. Dalvers), Emmett Lynn (Lionel Cleeter), Richard Clarke (Tom Havershield, movie theater usher), Betty Blythe (Mrs. Grey, prison work matron), Ernie Alexander (court reporter), Mary Bovard (Taffy, convict), Beverly Boyd (George), Gerald Brock (Smoky), Dorothy Brown (Josie, elevator operator), Roy Butler (bailiff), Eleanor Counts (Linda, convict), Madge Crane (Mrs. Martha McCarthy), Ben Erway (bartender), Bess Flowers (courtroom spectator), Francis Ford (jury foreman), Henry Hall (Judge Coolidge), Kenneth Harlan (Police Lieutenant Jackson), Robert F. Hill (Dr. Orchard), Charles Jordan (Police chemist), Gloria Lake (Dottie), Charles McAvoy (court officer), Charles McMurphy (cop), Broderick O'Farrell (lawyer), Rose Plumer (Matron), Suzanne Ridgway (bar customer), Peggy Stewart (Terry, convict), Eileen Terrie (Maria, convict), Crane Whitley (Reverend Greene)
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The Blonde Prisoner and the Girl that Jumped Over the Moon
On January 21, 1931, three former New York showgirls appearing in a Hollywood movie told reporters why millionaires always fall for showgirls. Actress Mary Lange said, “A millionaire marries a showgirl because he can see what he’s getting.” Vivian Keefer added, “Millionaires marry showgirls because showgirls are smarter than most millionaires.”
Barbara Pepper, the brassy blonde inmate in this prison adventure responded, “Millionaires like to have their money’s worth, and showgirls know how to make them think they’re getting it.” Barbara Pepper was born in the Astor Hotel on Times Square, where her father was the manager, and never wanted to be anything other than an actress in front of an audience.
Her first and only passion was for a showbusiness career, and as a well-developed teenager was quickly hired as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl, becoming best friends with Follies showgirl Lucille Ball. They both went to Hollywood and appeared together as Goldwyn showgirls in a 1933 Eddie Cantor movie.
Barbara never became a star like Lucille Ball, and she soon lost her showgirl figure, but continued in movies and television the rest of her life, appearing on episodes of “I Love Lucy,” and most famously as farm wife Doris Ziffel on the television sit-com “Green Acres.”
Her boyfriend of several years joined the Marines when World War Two began, and while she was filming this adventure, he was injured as one of the first Marines at Guadalcanal. After a hospital stay in San Diego, California, Craig Reynolds married Barbara Pepper and promised that after the war he would only take orders from Barbara for the rest of his life. He kept his promise.
In this adventure, Barbara Pepper is a brassy and bold blonde in prison, who becomes friendly with the new teacher sent to rehabilitate the girl prisoners. Unfortunately, the gangster that runs the whole city also runs the prison for female convicts, and the atmosphere at the prison will get much worse before it gets better. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Arline Judge, Roger Clark
Betty Blythe, Dorothy Burgess, Barbara Pepper
Clancy Cooper, Robin Raymond
Dorothy Burgess, Arline Judge
Sid Melton, Jack Randall
Jack Randall, Arline Judge
Jack Randall, Clancy Cooper
Jack Randall, Gerald Brock, Sid Melton
Patricia Knox, Sid Melton