Mysterious, sinister Wilse Dilling receives a coded message to go to the home of Queen Ann, a powerful crime boss. When Wilse meets with her, she sends him to the town of Fallbrook, where he is to await her instructions. Being practically wheelchair-bound has not stopped Dilling from committing a lengthy series of crimes, but to his surprise, he finds that the small town atmosphere makes him feel differently about everything. He finds a good friend in banker's daughter Gertrude Hadley, who helps him believe that he can make a fresh start. But Wilse's new-found contentment is soon shattered by a series of new developments. Written by
A Jewel Production. Universal, lacking a proprietary theater chain, devised a 3-tiered branding system to enable it to market its feature product to independent theater owners: Red Feather (low budget programmers), Bluebird (mainstream releases) and Jewel (prestige productions capable of drawing higher roadshow ticket prices). This branding system ended in late 1929. See more »
At about 43:05, Wilse is crossing a room in Anne's house. He moves his bad right foot which is paralyzed throughout the film. See more »
Having recently been in Christchurch, New Zealand, during the Great Canterbury Earthquake, the earthquake in the film came, like the real thing, by surprise. I was impressed by how well and realistically they did the earthquake sequences (which must have cost a bob or two). The imperceptible shake which builds up to a massive shaking and rattling from which you cannot get away frighteningly familiar. Thankfully, the house I was in shook, but was undamaged. However parts of central Christchurch are quite old and look (or rather looked) very much like the two-storey townscape used in the film. The clip where the earth opened up was also very reminiscent of cracks left in the New Zealand landscape. Of the the filmmakers had probably lived themselves through the San Francisco earthquake.
There were some nice railway sequences (Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe I think). It was interesting that when they put the girl on her stretcher into the train, she is still lying across the vestibule as it pulls out.
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