The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958)

vt The Grasshopper; vt The Other Life of Lynn Stuart
US / 78 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: Lewis Seiler Pr: Bryan Foy Scr: John H. Kneubuhl Story: newspaper articles by Pat Michaels Cine: Burnett Guffey Cast: Betsy Palmer, Jack Lord, Barry Atwater, Edmund G. Brown, Kim Spalding, Karl Lukas, Casey Walters, Harry Jackson, Claudia Bryar, John Anderson, Rita Duncan, Lee Farr, Louis Towers, Carter James Maloney, Carlos Romero, Artie Lewis, Gavin MacLeod, Madeline O’Donnell, Betsy Jones Moreland, Than Wyenn, Snub Pollard.

Despite the title, and despite the claims in the opening address delivered by California’s Attorney General at the time, Edmund G. Brown, this movie is at best loosely based on reality. There really was a woman who, under the moniker “Lynn Stuart,” infiltrated California’s narcotics gangs, but most of the details of the story have been changed for the purposes of the screen. Contrary to what you might expect, the real-life “Lynn Stuart,” who served as a consultant during the making of this movie, was actually far braver and more dogged than her fictional counterpart: she risked her life as a police informant among the gangsters for six long years.

Betsy Palmer as Phyllis/”Lynn”

When the teenage son of Nora (Bryar) dies in a drug-related incident, Nora’s sister, Phyllis Carter (Palmer), is spurred into offering her services to the Santa Ana PD as an undercover agent to bring down the drug gangs—or some of the gangsters, at least. At first Lieutenant Jim Hagan (Atwater) and his sidekicks treat the offer as a joke; Continue reading