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Slightly Honorable (1939)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  22 December 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 265 users  
Reviews: 11 user

A lawyer is framed for the murder of a young party girl and tries to clear his name.



(screenplay), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Russ Sampson
Ann Seymour
Alan Dinehart ...
Commisioner Joyce
Claire Dodd ...
Alma Brehmer
Phyllis Brooks ...
Sarilla Cushing
Miss Ater
George Taylor
Bernard Nedell ...
Pete Godena
Ernest Truex ...
P. Hemingway Collins
Janet Beecher ...
Miss Vlissigen
John Sheehan ...
Mike Daley


Attorney John Webb, is fighting the crooked political-ring headed by newspaper publisher Vincent Cushing and his crony George Joyce, the district attorney. When Alma Brehmer, Cushing's mistress and Webb's former sweetheart, is murdered, Cushing and Joyce try to railroad Webb as the killer. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's Gay! It's Goose-pimply! It's grand! It's ga-ga! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the character played by Pat O'Brien is unencumbered by marital ties, he wears a wedding ring throughout the film. See more »


Alma Brehmer: Look, there are very few things in my life that I really regret. One of them is the time I wasted on you.
Pete Godena: Cool off, Snow White! Now let's you and me have a nice little heart-to-heart talk, hmm?
Alma Brehmer: What would you use?
See more »


by Irving Actman
Sung by Ruth Terry
See more »

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User Reviews

Uneven murder mystery with good cast, solid plot, odd humor
1 June 2012 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Fast talking lawyer Pat O'Brien sets out to do a job—on the level, but only for the money, it seems. The "job" is fighting the highway monopoly controlled by smooth talking crime boss Edward Arnold. Broderick Crawford is O'Brien's law partner and pal; they set out to take down Arnold and his empire.

Sounds like a solid drama, but…soon silly girl singer Ruth Terry is telling O'Brien "I like you" at a party. He half-heartedly discourages her enthusiastic advances on him, and he doesn't quite believe that she's eighteen years and two months old, as she says; however, she persists in chasing him around for the rest of the movie, wearing down his resistance and distracting him from the real plot—

A woman is murdered and the few clues point toward O'Brien. Who really did the murder, and why is O'Brien being framed? –There's the mystery O'Brien has to sort out, with assistance (and frequent interference) from partner Crawford, from the kid singer Terry, and from the cops—who may be Arnold's stooges.

Bizarre humorous touches distract somewhat from the mystery plot; for example, the scene in which all of the suspects remove their shoes to be examined for blood stains, and Edward Arnold has an embarrassing hole in the toe of his sock. Terry and O'Brien giggle madly…even though the corpse is still lying in the next room. It just doesn't quite fit.

I would have liked to see more of three other women characters: Claire Dodd as an early victim (intimate friends with more than one suspect), Eve Arden as O'Brien's secretary (smart and ready), and Phyllis Brooks as Arnold's daughter (conscience crying out as she learns about her father). All are very good in too small roles.

We do get plenty of Ruth Terry…who is actually very good herself, except that hers and O'Brien's relationship never really convinces, the chemistry never really gels. Unfortunately for her, she comes across as rather annoying.

One truly chilling moment involves a discovery at a desk—a shock that is totally unexpected and perfectly executed.

Otherwise, the plot is passable, the cast a bunch of pros, the dialog zippy—and the romance and humor a little oddball. Fun—just a little unsteady.

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