Down 15,570 this week

The Lady and the Mob (1939)

Passed  -  Action | Adventure | Comedy  -  3 April 1939 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 119 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

Society-woman Hattie Leonard organizes her own band of 'gang-busters' when she discovers a garment she sent to the dry-cleaners had been taxed twenty-five-cents to pay for gang 'protection.... See full summary »


(as Ben Stoloff)


(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

Favorites of FantasticFest 2014

FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 874 titles
created 16 Jan 2012
list image
a list of 2166 titles
created 23 Apr 2013
list image
a list of 40 titles
created 16 Aug 2013
a list of 38 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 775 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Lady and the Mob (1939)

The Lady and the Mob (1939) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Lady and the Mob.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two brothers struggle as wildcat truck drivers; one comes to harm, the other is accused of his friend's murder.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan
The Big Knife (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Charles Castle is a successful Hollywood actor who has opted for screen success over art. He must make critical decisions regarding his career, his marriage, his art & morality. In this ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey
Harriet Craig (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Among those she treats like household objects are her kind husband ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Joan Crawford, Wendell Corey, Lucile Watson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Four American soldiers stationed near a German village face death in the rape of a local girl and are defended by outside counsel Major Steve Garrett.

Director: Gottfried Reinhardt
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Barbara Rütting, Christine Kaufmann
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Marriage broker Mae Swasey, who somewhat cynically arranges her loser clients' affairs, meets model Kitty Bennett and can't resist meddling in her life, by disentangling her from a married ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Thelma Ritter, Scott Brady
Captain Kidd (1945)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The unhistorical adventures of pirate Captain Kidd revolve around treasure and treachery.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton
Anything Goes (1936)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman, Charles Ruggles
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

1920's bandleader Chuck Arnold meets hometown girl Peggy at one of the band's dances and next day weds her. Though she loves him, life on the road becomes increasingly difficult for her, ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Dan Dailey, Oscar Levant
The Threat (1949)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vicious hood 'Red' Kluger escapes from Folsom Prison and carries through on his threats to the detective who arrested him and the D.A. who got him convicted.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Michael O'Shea, Virginia Grey, Charles McGraw


Complete credited cast:
Fay Bainter ...
Lee Bowman ...
Henry Armetta ...
Warren Hymer ...
Harold Huber ...
Forbes Murray ...
District Attorney
Joe Sawyer ...
Blinky Mack (as Joseph Sawyer)
Tom Dugan ...
Brains Logan
Joe Caits ...
Bert the Beetle (as Joseph Caits)
Jim Toney ...
Big Time Tim
Tommy Mack ...
The Canary
Brandon Tynan ...
Mayor Jones
George Meeker ...
George Watson


Society-woman Hattie Leonard organizes her own band of 'gang-busters' when she discovers a garment she sent to the dry-cleaners had been taxed twenty-five-cents to pay for gang 'protection.' She sends to New York City for a reformed gangster she had befriended, Frankie O'Fallon, and he hires the manpower needed from the usual Columbia hoods. Her gang hi-jacks the racketeers, recovers the merchant's money and returns it to them. Lila Thorne, engaged to Hattie' son, Fred, throws in with her future mother-in-law when she sees the old lady is fighting for the American principle of freedom of choice...and action. Lila frames the gang-leader, George Watson, and Hattie's big-city vigilantes kidnap him, and extract the information that the town-mayor, Johnny "J.J." Jones, is the brains behind the protection-gang and is getting the big cut of the money. But Hattie still has to rob a bank before she can secure the evidence needed to convict the mayor. All in a day's work for a crusading society... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A society matron muscles in on the underworld---just to clean it up! (original poster) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Che succede a San Francisco?  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Otto Hoffman as "Higgins" is in studio records/casting call lists, but he did not appear or was not identifiable in the movie. See more »


Lila Thorne: I may have come from gorillas, but that doesn't mean I have to mix with them socially!
See more »


References You Can't Take It with You (1938) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Mob Comedy Is An Offer You Shouldn't Refuse
27 August 2009 | by (Massapequa, United States) – See all my reviews

As a fan of comedies from Hollywood's Golden Age, I've seen such classics as "Duck Soup,", "His Girl Friday," and "Bringing Up Baby" many, many times. Though I never tire of them, I often wonder if there are many unheralded gems still deep in Hollywood's vaults awaiting the light of day. For this reason alone, the invaluable cable television station Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is always worth visiting for a little prospecting.

Today, I found a fair-sized gold nugget there: "The Lady and the Mob" (Columbia Pictures, 1939). Ever hear of it? I hadn't, and chances are, you haven't either. Ever since TCM gained access to Columbia's vaults, some interesting films started reaching the public again, like "Ladies in Retirement" (1941), a twisty suspense film with a superb performance from Ida Lupino. I mention Miss Lupino because she's second-billed in "The Lady & The Mob." Comedy was never a big part of her career, but she acquits herself quite well in the supporting role of Lila Thorne, fiancée of Fred Leonard (Lee Bowman) who sends her to meet and be approved by his mother, Hattie Leonard (Fay Bainter) who has a track record for scaring away prospective brides.

What seems to be the set-up for a '30s Hollywood comedy of manners quickly shifts gears into another comedic sub-genre, the mob comedy, best typified by such films as "Brother Orchid" (1940) and "A Slight Case of Murder" (1938), two Warner Bros. light-hearted offerings that gave Edward G. Robinson a chance to spoof his tough guy image.

After visiting her local cleaners to complain about a $2 bill, Hattie learns that the owner, Mr. Zambrogio (Henry Armetta) had to raise prices because a "protective association" is extorting $7 a week from him and others. Outraged after the mayor assures her that the matter will be remedied eventually sometime, she sends for Frankie O'Fallon (Warren Hymer), a reformed thief whom she met when he tried to steal her purse, to lend a hand. Framkie is quickly decked by Harry the Lug (Harold Huber), the racket collector prompting Hattie to order Frankie to recruit her own mob. Before long, we are introduced to Blinky Mack, Brains Logan, Bert the Beetle, Big Time Tim and The Canary (with a voice that sounds like Curly's from The Three Stooges, though it's not) and the laughs which were decent from the beginning start coming at you with the rapidity of a tommy gun.

The film abounds in bright lines sch as when Hattie, correcting Frankie after he calls her "lady", rebukes him with: "My servants call me madam." Perplexed, Frankie comments, "Gee, that don't hardly sound respectable." I love the scene where the local hoods that Hattie has recruited stroll about her mansion looking at her artwork. Seeing a Gainsborough-like painting depicting a child on its mother's lap, one of them urges the others to "get a load of the ventriloquist here!" And wait 'til you see their armor-plated getaway car replete with smokescreen generator and dropping tacks, anticipating James Bond's Aston Martin car by a quarter of a century.

In the lead role, Fay Bainter may appear an odd choice, here looking a lot like May Robson and sounding very much like Billie Burke, two actresses who may have seemed like more natural casting for such a dizzy society matron role. After all, Miss Bainter had established a reputation as a dramatic actress, having been nominated as Best Actress for "White Banners" and Best Supporting Actress for "Jezebel," (and winning for the latter role), both for Warner Bros. in 1938, the year before. To work for Columbia (then trying to fight off its "poverty row studio" image) in what was at 66 minutes, a B-movie, seemed to be a comedown. Whatever the circumstances -- I'd like to think it was simply someone recognizing a good role in a good script --she makes the film a ton of fun.

About midway in, an interesting scene occurs that warrants special mention. After a horde of owners have come to her house, insisting she call off her campaign because the ensuing brawls between the two mobs are wrecking their cleaning stores, Hattie launches into a dramatic monologue about patriotism, quoting Robert G. Harper's "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." In quick succession, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Patrick Henry's most famous lines are also heard. Declaring that a real American will never tolerate a dictator, she likens Mr. Watson, the mid-level operator of the town's protection racket, to one who "doesn't believe in your rights." Don't let him take your America from you, she urges.

Warner Bros. is often credited (and rightly so) with alerting the country to the dangers of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany with its exciting, "Confessions of a Nazi Spy" in 1939. That film was released May 6. "The Lady & The Mob", first in theaters nearly five weeks earlier on April 3, stole a bit of its thunder. Granted it was only one scene and its impact can hardly be compared to this other film. But I mention it to illustrate that Warner Bros. wasn't the only studio concerned about the Nazis that was willing to make a public statement at the risk of foreign revenues, even if Hitler was never directly named. Although you might think that Hattie's plea might stop the comedy cold, the words are so well-integrated into the plot that they don't kill the mood which is quickly flowing again.

If you're a fan of gangster comedies, this film is well-worth your time thanks to a good script, several wonderful character actors at their peak, and a high-flying lead performance that will bring a smile to your face long after the movie's over. Rated 8 of 10.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Lady and the Mob (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: