The Law of Contact

Man From Headquarters (January 23, 1942)

Frank Albertson is the Man from Headquarters

Released on January 23, 1942: A reporter helps crack a ring of gangsters for the cops, but may not live long enough to testify against them.

Directed by Jean Yarbrough

The Actors: Frank Albertson (Larry Doyle), Joan Woodbury (Ann Weston), Dick Elliott (Editor Elwin A. Jonas), Byron Foulger (hotel manager Clark), John Maxwell (managing editor Marvin), Robert Kellard (hotel clerk), Mel Ruick (District Attorney Johnson), Gwen Kenyon (hatcheck girl), Jack Mulhall (Whalen, reporter), Christine McIntyre (telegraph girl), Max Hoffman Jr. (Louis Padroni, gang leader), Paul Bryar (knucles), Arthur O'Connell (Goldie Shores), Maynard Holmes (T. Fulton Whistler), Charlie Hall (newspaper photographer), Irving Mitchell (Nate, pawnbroker), George O'Hanlon (Weeks, reporter), Jack Byron (reporter), Jack Gardner (lunch counter clerk), Warren Jackson (reporter), I. Stanford Jolley (newspaperman), Frank O'Connor (policeman).


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Movies about hot shot reporters who bluster through crime and the ladies with a cocky mouth and a ton of attitude are always a fun story, and this one is one of the best. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and drizzle it with plenty of hot melted butter and settle in for a great gangster story with a reporter and a gal he picks up on the way to catching the gangster.

Our movie opens as Larry Doyle, hot shot reporter for a big Chicago newspaper arrives at his editor's office to get an award from the Mayor's office. He is given a citation and a new shiny revolver, compliments of the Mayor, for his help in nabbing local gangster Louie Padroni . . . does this sound familiar? This movie is a re-make of the 1935 movie, "The Mystery Man," by a different studio and a different cast, and a few slightly different plot details. But the story's the same. Which do you like better? Let me know. Anyway, back to our story:

Padroni is on the hot seat because of this, and as he faces an expensive trial, he needs to raise some cash quickly. Padroni tells his two henchmen that they must 'take care of' Doyle while he gets out of town for a while and raises some cash in another city for his upcoming trial. So the boys grab Doyle and decide that instead of rubbing him out, they will knock him out, take his money and buy him a one way railroad ticket to a far away town. So Doyle wakes up in St. Louis, with very little money and no idea of what happened to him. He meets a young lady there who is out of money and can't even raise bus fare back to her country home, and they team up to survive in the big city.

Of course, Padroni the gangster just coincidentally went to St. Louis to raise the money he needs for his trial in Chicago, and is staging a string of Padroni, but he figures that he is a good reporter, and he can capture this gangster just like he did in Chicago. Wrobberies that are baffling the local cops. Doyle doesn't know that the gangster that is running amuck in St. Louis is his old nemesis, Padroni finds out that Doyle is in town, and manages to frame him for murder, putting Doyle between a rock and a hard place. Will Doyle's quick thinking, good fortune, and fast talking blarney keep him out of jail? Will the gal he has been chasing since the beginning of the movie finally take a liking to him? Will we enjoy seeing our old friend from so many noir movies, Byron Foulger, playing the part of the hotel manager that constantly gets conned by Doyle? You Betcha!