Secrets of a Co-Ed (October 10, 1942)
Released on October 20, 1942: The wild, spoiled daughter of a wealthy prominent lawyer parties with a local gangster, and discovers that the gangster and her father have more in common than she could imagine.
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
Written by George Wallace Sayre.
The Actors: Otto Kruger (James Reynolds), Tina Thayer (Brenda Reynolds), Rick Vallin (Nick Jordan), Russell Hoyt (Bill), Marcia Mae Jones (Laura Wright), Geraldine Spreckels (Tessie Smith), Diana Del Rio (Maria), Herb Vigran (Soapy), Patricia Knox (Flo), Claire Rochelle (Miss Wilson, Reynolds' secretary), Addison Richards (District Attorney), Isabel La Mal (College Dean Sophie), Kernan Cripps (Detective Roberts), Jack Gardner (court reporter), Pat McKee (Walter J. Ferris), Tom Patricola (unknown), Michael Vallon (Pete).
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Gangsters in the big city are exciting stuff for movie fans, and when you add the pretty daughter of the boss who unknowingly parties with one of daddy's muscle men, and the muscle man's jealous girlfriend, we have the stuff of an exciting adventure. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and get ready for a classic gangster thriller.
James Reynolds is a big city lawyer that specializes in defending gangsters in court. Not only that, but Reynolds owns some crooked night clubs in town, using some of his henchmen to be the owner of record. He has a lovely young daughter named Brenda that is in the local college who knows nothing about her father's gangster ties. Brenda is a wild child, and she is tired of the dull, hum-drum life of a college co-ed. She keeps a diary and writes down all of her thoughts about growing up, and her lust for excitement. Her college boyfriend, a nice young man who is training to become a lawyer like Brenda's dad, wants to get engaged to Brenda, but she refuses, telling him that she isn't ready. Brenda says that she wants to do things . . . things that she couldn't do if she were a wife.
Now here is where it gets really interesting, because Brenda accidentally meets Nick, one of daddy's henchmen. Brenda and Nick do the town, and he introduces her to fast music, wild dancing and all the rest that goes with big city night life. They have a great time until Nick's girlfriend discovers that Nick is going out on the town with the boss' daughter. She tells boss Reynolds that his man Nick is courting Reynolds' young daughter, and daddy Reynolds orders Nick to get out of town, and then puts out a contract on Nick. By circumstances that might only happen in a movie, Nick is killed, and daughter Brenda is accused of his murder. To top it all off, Brenda's secret diary seems to give her great motive for killing Nick. Now going into the gang-buster ending, papa Reynolds must defend he daughter in court to clear her of the murder that he had ordered. Talk about a sticky situation! There are a lot of ways that this one might end, and you will just have to munch your popcorn and keep watching, because I'm not telling!