Bars of Hate (1935)

US / 57 minutes / bw / Victory Dir: Al Herman Pr: Sam Katzman Scr: Al Martin Story: “Vengeance of the Lord” (n.d.) by Peter B. Kyne Cine: Bill Hyer Cast: Regis Toomey, Sheila Terry, Molly O’Day, Snub Pollard, Robert Warwick, Fuzzy Knight, Gordon Griffith, Arthur Loft, John Elliott, Jack Cowell.

Bars of Hate - 0 opener

Deputy DA Ted Clark (Toomey) is out speeding in his car one day when he half-inadvertently rescues pickpocket Danny (Pollard), who, having been caught in the act of stealing a woman’s purse, is in the process of receiving summary justice from some passers-by. Ted concludes that Danny is “both a crook and a regular guy” and decides to give him a break. When they go to give back the purse to its owner, Ann Dawson (Terry), they discover she’s being pursued by the goons of gangster Jim Grant (Griffith). Grant killed a woman called Jane Francis—who had dumped him for Ann’s brother Bruce—and then framed Bruce for the crime. Bruce is now within 48 hours of execution. The reason the goons want Ann’s purse is that Continue reading

Amateur Crook (1937)

vt Crooked but Dumb; vt Jewel Thief

US / 59 minutes / bw / Victory Dir & Pr: Sam Katzman Scr: Basil Dickey Cine: Bill Hyer Cast: Herman Brix (i.e., Bruce Bennett), Joan Barclay, Monte Blue, Jack Mulhall, Fuzzy Knight, Vivien Oakland, Jimmy Aubrey, Henry Rocquemore, Edward Earle, Forrest Taylor, Fern Emmett, Sam Adams, Charles Williams.

Collateral loans agent Jan Jaffin (Mulhall) and his nefarious crony Crone (Blue) plan to bilk explorer Jerry Cummings (Taylor), currently in Mexico, of a $50,000 diamond he left as security with Crone for a $10,000 fixed-term loan. Cummings’s daughter Betsy (Barclay), having suspected Crone, has recently, under the name Mary Layton, taken a job as Jaffin’s secretary. Learning the details of the pair’s scheme, she filches the rock and goes on the lam, running into the block of bachelor apartments run by amorous widow Mrs. Flint (Oakland). Opening a door at random, she finds herself in the studio of unsuccessful painter Jimmy Baxter (Brix).

Minutes before, in fending off Mrs. Flint’s offer to pose for him, Jimmy has unconvincingly explained that he prefers to use as model the dummy currently splayed across his couch, wrapped in a diaphanous scarf and other frills. Now, as Crone and a bumbling cop (Adams) arrive seeking the fugitive Betsy, Jimmy persuades her to dress as the dummy, which latter they hide in the couch. Thanks to Mrs. Flint’s conviction that this is the dummy she saw moments earlier, the ruse works. Unfortunately, Mrs. Flint then rumbles the trick. The pair escape, but not before Betsy has secreted the diamond inside the dummy.

Amateur Crook - Betsy's unusually convincing as an artist's dummy

Betsy (Joan Barclay) is unusually convincing as an artist’s dummy.

They return that night in hopes of retrieving it, only to find that Continue reading