I'll Sell My Life (1941)

Approved  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  12 September 1941 (USA)
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As Freddie and Lugger, employees of Bovhini, are waiting in the parking lot of the Club Sirocco for Ruth Parmelee, they see a woman accost Ruth and then shoot her and speed away in a car. ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Michael Whalen ...
Mordecai Breen
Stanley Fields ...
Valencia Duncan
Roscoe Ates ...
Happy Hogan
Richard Bond ...
Albert Darnell
Ben Taggart ...
Police Lt. Hammer
Robert Regent ...
Philip Leyden
Paul Maxey ...
Munro Brown ...
Robert Walker ...
Eduardo Durant ...
Eddie, Orchestra Leader
Frances Morris ...
Annie Winterbottom


As Freddie and Lugger, employees of Bovhini, are waiting in the parking lot of the Club Sirocco for Ruth Parmelee, they see a woman accost Ruth and then shoot her and speed away in a car. Bochini, who has loved Ruth, vows revenge. Mordecai Breen is devoting his life to welfare work among the city's needy, and publishes a small newspaper called "The Friend in Need," assisted by his former prize fighter friend, Happy Hogan. An advertisement headed "I'll Buy Your Life" appears in the paper and Breen decides to investigate. At the address given, the swanky Alhambra Arms apartments, Breen learns that the advertiser is Alfred Darnell, an orchestra leader and writer of detective stories. A number of girls answer the ad, but Dale Leyden, after being interviewed by Darnell and Velencia Duncan, is the successful applicant. As she leaves, Breen tells her that if she should find herself in the need of any assistance, to let him know. Dale tells her blind musician brother Philip that an uncle who ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Plot Keywords:

envelope | writer | welfare | vow | revenge | See All (68) »


Action | Crime | Drama | Mystery






Release Date:

12 September 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Some Call It Murder  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Written by Leo Rojo
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User Reviews

Michael Whalen saves his love from self-sacrifice and finds out the real killer.
4 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"I'll Sell My Life" refers to an unusual scheme in which one woman (Rose Hobart) takes the blame for the murder of a second woman by a third woman (Joan Woodbury). She does this for money for an eye operation for her brother. To assure payment she brings Michael Whalen into the case. The gangster boy friend of the murdered victim is Stanley Fields and plotting with Woodbury is orchestra leader Richard Bond. Whalen is the focus of the movie as he tries to save Hobart from the electric chair while finding out who the real killer is.

It's an intriguing plot, done up with a passable screenplay. Whalen, while a capable lead with enough presence to carry the movie, at times overdoes his part. I liked his character who was ever ready with clever quips and conversational comebacks in a lighthearted way. Fields is Fields, which means you cannot miss his deep and imposing voice and manner, but always with a mix of the comic and the threatening. The svelte Joan Woodbury always seems to burn up the screen, and especially here when she does an extended rhumba. Hobart is convincing and connects to the audience even today in her sincere goodwill. The makeup style of that era didn't do her justice and neither did a few camera angles.

I thought that this story might be pre-noir but I can't say that it was. It rolls along in a rather flat and pleasant vein. Just one of those old time b movies from a minor production company that I'd never heard of: Select Attractions Inc.

Woodbury, who was quite striking, was married to Henry Wilcoxon, and that explains her appearance in de Mille's Ten Commandments. Next time I see it, I'll be on the lookout for Korah's wife. She's in Dr. Broadway, which I've already reviewed, but I can't remember seeing her. That's not her fault, of course!

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