Secret Evidence (January 21, 1941)
Released on January 21, 1941: Linda has it all when her boss, attorney David Harrison, is promoted to assistant District Attorney, and asks Linda to marry him. The only problem is Linda's old beau, who just got out of prison and wants to force Linda into a life of crime with him.
Directed by William Nigh
Written by Edward Bennett and Brenda Cline.
The Actors: Marjorie Reynolds (Linda Wilson), Charles Quigley (David Harrison), Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart (Tony Baxter), Howard Masters (Jerry Wilson), Bob White (Sniffy), Kenneth Harlan (Frank Billings), Donald Curtis (Detective Murphy), Charles R. Phipps (Frank Wilson), Dorothy Vaughan (Mrs. Wilson), Budd Buster (Frank, tourist court manager), Kitty McHugh (Mazie), Boyd Irwin (Judge J. William Johnston), Jack Kennedy (Policeman Joe Wallace), Harry Leroy (courtroom spectator), Wilbur Mack (court stenographer), Lee Shumway (Robeson, police turnkey).
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So this secretary for a lawyer in the big city discovers that he has been promoted to assistant District Attorney, and is not taking her along as his new secretary. She is mad as a hornet because she is sweet on him, and she thought that he was sweet on her. When lawyer David Harrison gets to the office that morning, he confirms to Linda that she cannot accompany him as his secretary in his new job, but instead he asks Linda to marry him. Of course Linda is on cloud nine, and goes home to tell her mom, dad and brother about her good fortune. What a wonderful beginning to a crime noir thriller. But hang on, this roller coaster is in for a bumpy ride. While Linda is home waiting for David to pick her up for dinner, there is a knock on the door, and Linda thinks it must be her fiance David coming to pick her up for dinner. But that is not to be . . . Linda's world is about to turn upside down, with no recovery in sight.
The man at the door is Tony Baxter, just out of prison. He pushes his way into the house and demands that Linda become his girl, and his wife. Linda and the family are horrified, but Frank is insistant. It turns out that he and Sniffy had a bit of a crime wave that sent Tony to prison. But Tony left a stash of valuable jewels with Jerry, Linda's brother, and they are worth enough to keep Tony and Linda in fine style for the rest of their lives. But this roller coaster is about to swing around a corner and take another steep hill. Linda convinced her brother to turn in the jewels to the police when Tony was put in jail, so there is no money for Tony and his partner in crime Sniffy. Tony still plans on taking Linda away from the new assistant District Attorney, and insists that Linda visit him at his cottage apartment later that night. Here comes the next stomach-twisting hill on this roller coaster of a crime ride.
It is night, and Tony is waiting for Linda to visit him. The manager of the place he lives makes him register the lady that is visiting him, so he puts down 'wife' on the register. We know that bad things are ahead for Linda, and this looks like something that will come back to bite her on the butt later. While Tony is waiting for Linda, he runs into Sniffy, his old partner in crime, who wants his cut of the jewels that were hidden with Linda's brother before Tony went to prison, and Tony tells Sniffy that the stolen goods are gone - there is nothing to split with him. This makes Sniffy pretty upset, and he gets a gun and intends to kill Tony. That is one leg of this crime that will engulf Linda, and the next is about to come. Linda is on her way to visit Tony as he ordered, and outside the place she runs into her brother Jerry, who has the family gun, and intends to kill Tony so that he won't bother his sister. Linda struggles with her brother to stop him, and the gun goes off. Just about that time Tony opens the door to see what the gunshot was, and Sniffy, hiding in the bushes, shoots Tony and runs away. Linda sees Tony drop from the gunshot, and thinks that maybe it was her and her brother who shot him. She runs to him to see how hurt he is, and then calls a doctor for him as she leaves.
Now Tony knows that it was Sniffy that shot him, and Tony is recovering well in the hospital, but the cops recover the bullet from Jerry's gun and they arrest Linda's brother for shooting Tony. The cops also search for the mystery lady who called the doctor when Tony was shot. And here our roller coaster takes another wild turn . . . Linda's fiance, the new assistant District Attorney, is the prosecutor and Linda's engagement to him is in terrible jeopardy. When Tony learns that Linda's new man, the assistant D.A. suspects her brother, and Linda also might be convicted for the shooting, he only agrees to tell the truth about Sniffy being the shooter if Linda would agree to marry him and leave the new assistant D.A. that she loves. Pop some white kernel popcorn, slather it with warm melted butter, and munch away as this story twists and turns more often than an out of control roller coaster without any brakes.