For the Defense (1930)

|
“Ten o’clock? What do you think I am—a milkman?”
|

US / 63 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: John Cromwell Scr: Oliver H.P. Garrett Story: Charles Furthmann Cine: Charles Lang Cast: William Powell, Kay Francis, Scott Kolk, William B. Davidson, Thomas E. Jackson, Harry Walker, James Finlayson, Charles West, Bertram Marburgh, Ernie Adams, John Elliott, Syd Saylor, Billy Bevan.

So successful is New York City defense attorney William B. “Bill” Foster (Powell) at getting his clients off, by fair means or foul—usually foul—that the DA, Herbert L. Stone (Davidson), is moved to describe him to the Bar Association as the greatest single threat to the city’s law enforcement. A cop named Daly (Jackson) has made it his life’s work to catch Bill perverting the course of justice and put him behind bars.

Daly (Thomas E. Jackson) on the trail.

We see Bill’s technique in action early in the movie when, defending palpably guilty Eddie Withers (Adams), he throws to the floor the key piece of the state’s evidence, a bottle supposedly containing Continue reading

Phantom in the House, The (1929)

|
Spurned by the wife for whom he took a murder rap!
|

US / 62 minutes / bw / Continental Dir: Phil Rosen Pr: Trem Carr Scr: Arthur Hoerl Story: The Phantom in the House (1928) by Andrew Soutar Cine: Herbert J. Kirkpatrick Cast: Ricardo Cortez, Nancy Welford, Henry Walthall, Grace Valentine, Jack Curtis, Thomas Curran, John Beck, John Elliott, Larry Steers, Henry Roquemore.

Phantom in the House - 0

Margaret “Peggy” Milburn (Valentine), convinced that husband Boyd is an inventive genius, has been leading on the rich Roger Stanwick (uncredited) in hopes of persuading him to invest in Boyd’s ideas. When she breaks it to Stanwick that all she’s offering in return is friendship, and Not What He Thought, he attempts to take what wasn’t on offer and she kills him in self-defense.

Phantom in the House - 1 Peggy and Boyd stare down aghast at the man she's killed

Peggy (Grace Valentine) and Boyd (Henry Walthall) stare down aghast at the man she’s killed.

Boyd (Walthall) is almost immediately on the scene. For the sake of their toddler, Dorothy, and in the belief that a child needs her mother, Boyd takes the rap in Peggy’s place, and is sentenced to life in the pen. While there he regularly sends the blueprints for new inventions to Peggy so she can use them to support herself and Dorothy. He also befriends the thug in the neighboring cell, Biffer Bill (Curtis), who’s fond of promising that on his release there’s gonna be Continue reading

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

Ticket to a Crime (1934)

US / 66 minutes / bw / Beacon Dir: Lewis D. Collins Pr: Max Alexander Scr: Charles A. Logue, Jack Neville Story: Carroll John Daly Cine: Gilbert Warrenton Cast: Ralph Graves, Lois Wilson, Lola Lane, James Burke, Charles Ray, Edward Earle, Hy Hoover, John Elliott, John Webb Dillon.

Ticket to a Crime - 0 opener

A minor, moderately entertaining comedy mystery of the kind that the Poverty Row studios churned out seemingly by the dozen during this era, this is saved from complete mediocrity by the appeal of its two leading ladies, who seem somehow a cut above their male counterparts.

A jeweler named Davidson (Elliott) has discovered that his books have been doctored to the tune of $50,000, and assumes the guilty party must be his former son-in-law, Courtney Mallory (Ray, the only one of the male cast to bring much nuance to his role). The matter comes to the attention of the cops when Davidson tries to use the Van Dyne pearls, which have been placed in his care, as security for a short-term bank loan. The banker, Miller (uncredited), declines the loan and informs the cops. Inspector Tyler (Dillon) puts gormless Det.-Lt. John Aloysius McGinnis (Burke) onto the case.

Ticket to a Crime - 1 Repressed secy Peggy C

PI Clay Holt’s repressed secretary Peggy Cummings (Lola Lane).

Davidson himself contacts down-at-heel PI Clay Holt (Graves), gives him a $500 retainer and a couple of tickets to a party at the Lido Country Club that night, and tells him he’d like to Continue reading