US / 68 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: Alexander Hall Pr: Bayard Veiller Scr: Adela Rogers St. Johns Story: “Kidnapt” (1933 Hearst’s International–Cosmopolitan) by Rupert Hughes Cine: Alfred Gilks Cast: Dorothea Wieck, Alice Brady, Baby Le Roy, William Frawley, George Barbier, Alan Hale, Jack La Rue, Dorothy Burgess, Florence Roberts, Marcelle Corday, Irving Bacon, “Spanky” McFarland, Carmencita Johnson, Cullen Johnson
A movie supposedly based loosely on the real-life 1932 case of the Lindbergh kidnapping, although I can find no firm evidence to support this claim. Aside from the obvious—rich baby is kidnapped—the only real resemblance in the movie to the real case occurs in an odd little sidebar that could almost have been tacked on afterward in order to cash in on the similarity of theme: As the cops search the house and grounds for any trace of missing baby Michael they find a rig leading up to the child’s bedroom window, as was the case in the Lindbergh abduction. Otherwise, though, I think this is just an instance of a movie’s publicists being rather yuckily opportunistic.
Dorothea Wieck as Madeline Fane
In the movie, Madeline Fane (Wieck) is a famous movie star, tragically widowed a year ago, who’s bringing up her 18-month-old son Michael (Le Roy) with the help of Continue reading
US / 67 minutes / bw / Universal Dir: Arthur Lubin Scr: George Waggner, Lester Cole Story: Synthetic Gentleman (1934) by Channing Pollock Cine: Milton Krasner Cast: Louis Hayward, Eric Linden, J.C. Nugent, Barbara Read, Irving Bacon, Robert Greig, Pierre Watkin, Sheila Bromley, Paul Everton, Nana Bryant, Joe Crehan, Selmer Jackson, Jan Duggan, Polly Bailey, Aileen Carlyle, Guy Usher, Fay Helm, Eric Wilton, Matty Fain.
Near-grifters Barry Gilbert (Hayward) and his elderly chum Doc Norton (Nugent), having been cleaned out at the races, hitch a ride to Belmont, New York State, where Barry’s convinced he can get a job, even if it’s only flipping burgers—after all, he’s had jobs before, as a journalist, an actor, a . . . The pair get a lift in the back of a truck, but when the driver turns off they have to climb out—in the middle of both the night and a rainstorm. The dialogue says they’re in Westchester; a bit of documentary evidence onscreen suggests Pleasantville. They creep up to a deserted house, break in, and prepare for a night of comfort before hitting the road again.
Barry (Louis Hayward) begins to get used to the life of luxury.
But just then Continue reading
US / 69 minutes / bw / Pine–Thomas, Paramount, Metropolis Dir: William H. Pine Pr: William H. Pine, William C. Thomas Scr: Milton Raison Cine: Ellis W. Carter Cast: William Gargan, Virginia Welles, Richard Crane, Irving Bacon, Mary Newton, Frank Ferguson, Douglass Dumbrille, Almira Sessions, Dan White, Lane Chandler.
Jake Bradford (Bacon) used to be a demolition expert, specializing in bringing down derelict buildings. When his business failed he set up the quarrying/rock-clearing company Bradford Engineering, which looks to be heading the same way—not least when, because shortage of money has led to the use of dangerous old-fashioned techniques, blaster Skipper Court (White) is killed in a rockfall he triggered.
Preparing to blast.
A few days later Jake, his daughter Mary (Welles) and his trusted employees Hard Rock Mason (Ferguson) and the big-headed Gunner Peterson (Gargan) attend the annual Christmas party thrown for all the California powdermen by Nelly Brown (Newton); Nelly says a few words in memory of Skipper, those words all the more sincere because years ago she lost her husband to a blast gone wrong. At the party, Gunner clumsily proposes to Mary: although he’s of her father’s generation and prattles about remembering her running around in pigtails, Mary, to her credit, doesn’t vomit on his shoes (“He’s just like my big brother,” she later says) but Continue reading