International Crime (1938)

US / 64 minutes / bw / Grand National Dir: Charles Lamont Pr: Max Alexander, Arthur Alexander Scr: Jack Natteford, John Krafft Story: Foxhound (1937) by Maxwell Grant (i.e., Theodore A. Tinsley) Cine: Marcel Le Picard Cast: Rod La Rocque, Astrid Allwyn, Thomas Jackson, Oscar O’Shea, Lew Hearn, Wilhelm von Brincken, Tenen Holtz, William Pawley, Wm. Moore (i.e., Peter Potter), John St. Polis, Jack Baxley, Walter Bonn, Harry Bradley, Will Stanton.

This follow-up to the previous year’s The Shadow Strikes (1937) is often listed as a sequel, but so much has been changed about the essential setup—perhaps reflecting the fact that this movie was based on a much later novel in the series than its predecessor—that it’s almost as if it’s a completely separate entity linked only by the fact that the two movies’ leading characters share a name and pseudonym.

Rod La Rocque as Lamont Cranston

In this iteration Lamont Cranston is a crime reporter on the Daily Classic (or Evening Classic; both names are used); he also gives a bulletin every evening on the paper’s affiliate radio station, EMOR. The Shadow isn’t the name of his crime-fighting alter ego; it’s merely the Continue reading

Slander House (1938)

US / 66 minutes / bw / Progressive Dir: Charles Lamont Pr: B.N. Judell Scr: Gertrude Orr, John W. Krafft Story: Scandal House (1933) by Madeline Woods Cine: M.A. Andersen Cast: Adrianne Ames (i.e., Adrienne Ames), Craig Reynolds, Esther Ralston, George Meeker, Pert Kelton, William Newell, Dorothy Vaughn, Edward Keane, Vivien Oakland, Ruth Gillette, Mary Field, Robert Homans, Blanche Payson.

Once upon a tine she was plain Helen Smith from NYC’s 10th Avenue, but now she’s Madame Helene (Ames), proprietrix of the swanky Helene’s Rejuvenating Salon on Park Avenue. She’s comfortably engaged to prominent society physician Herbert Stallings (Meeker), and she looks set to ascend to the ranks of the glitterati.

But then fast-talking cad-about-town Pat Fenton (Reynolds) walks into her salon and her life, and from there on things can never be the same for her.

Adrienne Ames as Madame Helene.

Progressive Pictures was a Poverty Row studio whose business model was to release B-features with salacious titles yet relatively innocuous contents. This one’s not just SFW but safe for screening to the average pre-school group, although they might find it a trifle boring. (Except for the bit with the monkey. The bit with the monkey is more or less guaranteed to set pre-school kids and Three Stooges fans a-chuckle.) A slight puzzle here is that Continue reading

Girl who Came Back, The (1935)

US / 67 minutes / bw / Chesterfield, First Division Dir: Charles Lamont Pr: George R. Batcheller Scr: Ewart Adamson Cine: M.A. Andersen Cast: Shirley Grey, Sidney Blackmer, Noel Madison, Mathew Betz, Torben Meyer, May Beatty, Frank LaRue, Ida Darling, Robert Adair, Edward Martindel, John Dilson, Don Brodie, Lew Davis.

Girl who Came Back - 0 opener

In New York, expert counterfeiter Gilda Gillespie (Grey) reads a line in a book that causes her to rethink her life: “It takes a tough guy to go straight.” She decides to give up her criminal career and get a—gasp!—job. But, when she goes to offer her resignation to the debonair artist-manqué head of the gang she belongs to, Hal Brewster (Madison), he goads her into doing One Last Job: robbing the safe of gem-collector Chester Madison (Martindel), a task that has defeated the ingenuity of Brewster’s henchmen, even though he counts among them genius cracksman Harry Sims (Davis).

Girl who Came Back - 2 Brewster wheedles with Gilda

Hal Brewster (Noel Madison) wheedles with Gilda (Shirley Grey).

Gilda gets the gems using a clever scam involving Continue reading

World Accuses, The (1934)

US / 61 minutes / bw / Chesterfield, Batcheller Dir: Charles Lamont Scr: Charles Belden Cine: M.A. Andersen Cast: Vivian Tobin, Dickie Moore, Cora Sue Collins, Russell Hopton, Harold Huber, Paul Fix, Sarah Edwards, Jamison Thomas, Mary Carr, Robert Elliott, Bryant Washburn, Barbara Bedford, Robert Frazier, Lloyd Ingraham, Broderick O’Farrell, Jane Keckley.

World Accuses - 0 opener

It’s 1928 or 1929. Formerly a celebrated Broadway actress, Lola Weymouth (Tobin) now lives with her milquetoast socialite husband John (Fix) and her baby son Tommy (uncredited at this age). The marriage is troubled by the fact that John is work-shy and the couple are living off whatever of his inheritance his termagant mother Lucille (Edwards) chooses to let them have. John lacks the guts to support his wife against his mother; it’s partly that he hasn’t let go of her apron strings, partly that she hasn’t let go of the purse strings.

World Accuses - 1 Weak-willed John can't face up to his mother

Weak-willed John (Paul Fix) can’t face up to his mother (Sarah Edwards).

One night after a row between Lola and Lucille, the young couple leave Tommy in the care of his nurse (uncredited) and go out on the town, meeting up with various of Lola’s quondam Broadway chums. One of these, unfortunately, is a very drunk old flame of Lola’s, Checkers Fraley (Huber). He picks a fight with John, knocks him down, and inadvertently kills him.

Checkers goes off for a long spell in the pen, while a viciously spiteful Continue reading