Racketeer Tony Gazotti is thankful that lawyer Jackson Durant helps him beat a murder rap, but Durant just does it for the thrill of it and refuses payment. Durant's defense of mobsters ...
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Cecil B. DeMille
In the 1840's Mexico has ceded California to the United States, making life nearly impossible for the Mexican population due to the influx of land and gold-crazy Americans. Farmer Joaquin ... See full summary »
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
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George B. Seitz
Edna May Oliver,
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Racketeer Tony Gazotti is thankful that lawyer Jackson Durant helps him beat a murder rap, but Durant just does it for the thrill of it and refuses payment. Durant's defense of mobsters causes his firm to disown him and his girlfriend Sue to leave him. But when young Tom Siddall, Sue's new boyfriend, is framed for a murder, she is the first to come asking for Durant's help. Durant uses Gazotti's information network and the help of new girlfriend Gertie Waxted to find that rival gangster Jim Crelliman is involved in the framing of Siddall. When Durant sends Gertie to Crelliman's apartment in a bid to blow open the case, she is walking on thin ice. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The $200,000 "retainer" Crelliman offers Durant would be worth around $3,650,000 in 2016. See more »
When Gertie stands looking out Durant's apartment window, her left arm is up with her hand on her head but, when the shot changes to see her from the front, her arm is down and her hand is resting against the window frame. See more »
Jackson 'Jack' Durant:
Well, then, your place is out. How 'bout mine? You know, I've got some eggs at my place that are just longing to be scrambled by you.
Well, I hate to keep an egg waiting. Let's go.
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The title card for "Penthouse" announces that the film is presented by "Metro-Golwyn-Mayer". See more »
This film was made a year before Myrna Loy catapulted to super-stardom with the Thin Man movies. At this point in her career, she was still a relatively unknown actress with a long but generally undistinguished track record. Warner Baxter, on the other hand, was the bigger star--with starring roles in 42ND STREET, THE CISCO KID (and its sequel) and THE SQUAW MAN.
Stylistically, the film is actually a lot like Baxter's B-movie series, The Crime Doctor, though in this case he plays a defense attorney who investigates crimes instead of a criminal psychiatrist who investigates crimes. Additionally, PENTHOUSE has a bit more style, polish and better acting than the Columbia Pictures series.
The film begins with Baxter getting a big-time hood off for a crime he apparently did not commit (for once). However, in a odd scene, the other lawyers in the practice vote him out because they don't want to be associated with such riffraff and attorneys who defend them (Ethics and a law practice?!?! What planet did these lawyers come from anyway?!?!). Additionally, Baxter's stuck up fiancée breaks it off with him because of the unsavory element he chooses to defend. However, Baxter really isn't a jerk lawyer--he just feels that IF the guy is actually innocent, he deserves a strong defense attorney (duh). But in this bizarre As I said above, this is a film with the odd idea of an attorney PERSONALLY investigating and solving crimes which his friends or clients are accused of committing. In reality, this never happens and I can't imagine Johnny Cochran or Robert Shapiro doing this and it's a cliché you just have to accept or else the film makes very little sense.
Along for the ride are Loy, Nat Pendleton (in one of his better and richer supporting roles) and a variety of other familiar faces (including veteran B actor, George E. Stone). It won't change your life and is a tad silly, but so well done that it's easy to forgive and enjoy.
By the way, having Myrna Loy stay in Baxter's apartment (even though they were in separate rooms) probably never would have gotten past the censors just one year later after the new Production Code would be enacted. Nor would a single man (Baxter) have been allowed to show a single girl around his bedroom.
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