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John Nugent Hayward,
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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
This film was released more than a year after the Lindbergh kidnapping case and never makes a mention of that "crime of the century." Dorothea Wieck, in her second and last American film, stars as movie star Madeline Fane whose baby is kidnapped from her mansion. We never see the kidnapping and we never know why she has been targeted other than the fact that she is rich and famous. The first half of the film basically follows the frenzied star as she tries to deal with stupid policemen and the press in an effort to get back her baby (Baby LeRoy).
The other half of the film depicts the kidnappers (Alan, Hale, Jack La Rue, and Dorothy Burgess) in a cabin somewhere in the California hills above Los Angeles. Nosy neighbor Alice Brady, a fan of Miss Fane, suspects something isn't right in the neighboring cabin. Burgess has told her that the baby is a girl and they have disguised the baby's blond hair.
After a failed attempt to get their money, the kidnappers start to panic. They prepare to make a getaway while LaRue digs a hole outside the cabin. But Brady spies them and snatches the baby. She makes a wild escape down the hillside in her jalopy with the kidnappers in pursuit firing guns. The cops intercept them.
There is a brief scene where the kidnappers are sentenced, in record time, and a happy reunion. The sentencing of the kidnappers makes a veiled reference to the Lindbergh case as the judge piles on convictions and adds to their prison sentences so they'll never get paroled.
Wieck is OK, although she closely resembles Luise Rainer in looks and demeanor. Brady is sensational as the simple soul who saves the day. Hale, La Rue, and Burgess are good as the kidnappers. Baby LeRoy gurgles and coos on command, but Spanky McFarland (as Brady's youngest child) steals his scenes. William Frawley is the bumbling cop, George Barbier is the bumbling studio chief, Florence Roberts is the kindly housekeeper, and Edwin Maxwell is the tough judge.
After the failure of this film, Wieck went back to Germany, where she worked in films, TV, and on stage through the mid 70s.
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