In this murder mystery, sexy blonde film star Irma Gladden is found dead in her car after shooting the last scene in her film, "Falling Star" at Eminent Studios. The suspects are numerous ... See full summary »
Fred C. Newmeyer
J. Farrell MacDonald
With his father accused of murder, Tom heads after the real murderer who lives in a town of outlaws where no one is allowed in or out. To gain entry he poses as an escaping outlaw with his ... See full summary »
Hedda Hopper's movie career was basically a lifetime of bit-parts (147 credits on IMDb, most of them forgettable), and no-one ever claimed she was a great actress, except in her other career as a gossip-columnist, where she could be highly convincing as a helpless little frilly female, to whom men would confide their secrets - only to find them plastered all over next morning's paper. (Spencer Tracy was so furious, he kicked her in the pants.) So this is one of the few opportunities to see her in a starring role, though at just 62 minutes, it's obviously a B-film and the low budget does show through.
When you hear that it's a story of mistaken identity, involving the theft of a priceless diamond, you can't help thinking of Wodehouse, who had a surprisingly strong influence on Hollywood, and that is the kind of light snack we're talking about. (Why it needed four writers is anybody's guess.)
The date of 1931 signals the first shock of the Depression, so the unremarkable footage of the rich at play would have provided much-needed escapism for hard-up viewers in a thousand small-town cinemas. There is topicality in Hopper's character losing everything in a stock-market gamble. And film-buffs will note the signs that we are just pre-Code, with a distinctly suggestive passage where a young man teaches the girl golf by reaching around her from behind.
This was a pretty foggy print, and the sound is a bit dim too. The climactic fight-scene is so fake and feeble, you can almost hear John Wayne sneering "Fight-scene? Heck, I thought it was a love-scene." But at least Hopper is looking her best - a distinguished beauty, however widely disliked.
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