Boris Karloff was shooting this movie when James Whale, director of "Frankenstein," spotted him eating lunch in the Universal commissary. Whale saw Karloff's height and rather boxy head and decided to offer him a test for the role of the Monster in "Frankenstein," which became Karloff's star-making role. See more »
The first name of the district attorney changes several times during the film. He is Carter Harrison in the opening credits, Martin Harrison on the door to his office, Carter again in the newspaper headlines announcing his murder, Martin in the final scenes and Carter in the closing credits. See more »
Toomey is supposed to be playing the stooge in this one
Regis Toomey, as the eager but not necessarily able reporter Dustin Hotchkiss, is playing this one somewhat slow-witted on purpose, much like any film role you'd see Don Knotts in some thirty years later. Hotchkiss' boss, tired of him whining about wanting a real story, sends him out to interview the head of the local machine and crime syndicate, certain that the threats and general unpleasantness he'll meet when he gets there will shut him up for awhile and keep him happy writing obituaries and wedding announcements. Unfortunately, what does happen is Hotchkiss becomes the witness to the aftermath of the murder of the D.A by a hit-man for the syndicate (Karloff as Terry), and he draws all of the wrong conclusions. Seeing the daughter of the reform candidate standing over the body, he rushes back to his paper and implicates her in the story he writes. When the police investigate, they determine the girl (Sue Carol) could not have done it since the bullets came from outside of the D.A.'s home. However, the papers claiming she's involved have already gone out for sale to the public. Embarrassed by the mess he's made for the reform candidate by getting his daughter wrongfully caught up in a scandal, Hotchkiss embarks on a crusade to find the real killer, although he has only two days to do so before the election in which the reform candidate is pitted against a candidate that is the puppet of the crime syndicate.
If Hotchkiss has a chance against these guys it is only because the syndicate's reasoning skills seem to be as bone-headed as Hotchkiss'. For example, Pearl, the ex-girlfriend of the crime machine's boss who has all the dirt on the mob, threatens to talk to the D.A - and does. Instead of taking her for a ride the old-fashioned way they decide to lock her up in a comfy compartment on a yacht until after the election. However, they shoot the D.A. dead in his own home when he threatens to indict, which is an empty threat without Pearl's testimony. Any mobster would tell you that the killing of honest public officials in their own middle-class neighborhoods can't be good for business.
Karloff is outstanding as Terry, the muscle and hit-man of the syndicate. He's smooth yet menacing and the perfect sociopath. He isn't angry at his victims, it's just all in a day's work. This would be an OK but rather unremarkable crime drama without his performance.
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