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Climaxing a long series of mysterious disappearances of young girls, dancer Thalia Arnold is found murdered. Police-detective Captain McVeigh believes that King Peterson, a nightclub operator and owner of the Crescent School of Fine Arts, knows something about the missing girls. Peterson's silent partner is Joseph Thompson, a theatrical agent, whose daughter, Nora, a reporter, is waging a newspaper crusade against the district attorney's office for failing to trace the girls, much to the discomfiture of James Horton, a young assistant district attorney. Pauline Randolph is the next to disappear but Nora had seen her leaving her grandmother's home in a car driven by a blonde woman. Nora interviews the grandmother who tells her that Pauline had theatrical employment, along with one of her friends, Mary Phillips. When the police begin investigating the Crescent talent-school, Thompson, who knew the Arnold girl intimately, quarrels with Peterson over the school, which, Thompson claims, ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
"A string of mysterious deaths and disappearances of young women have all been traced to a drama school, where all the girls were students. The district attorney suspects the school may be a front for a prostitution ring and sets out to investigate it. After the D.A. is blackmailed into dropping the investigation, a female reporter decides to go undercover to learn the truth," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.
Writer/director Elmer Clifton manages to squeeze a few drops of blood from this stone. A scene between villain Philip Van Zandt (as King Peterson) asking "Do you mind if I smoke?" and hero John Archer (as Jimmy Horton) replying "I don't care if you burn" piques interest. Mr. Clifton and H.B. Warner (as "Mac" McVeigh) were bigger names during the silent film era (look for Walter Long, also).
Mr. Archer was a fine actor, who did not get the parts he deserved; and it shows, in this film. Teenage Gale Storm (as Mary Phillips), who unexpectedly became a 1950s TV and rock 'n' roll era recording star, is irresistibly cute; she, and brief pair of vivacious dancing girls, give the film some much-needed oomph. In spite of some strengths, "City of Missing Girls" remains oblique and recumbent.
**** City of Missing Girls (3/27/41) Elmer Clifton ~ John Archer, H.B. Warner, Gale Storm
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