Dennis O'Keefe has the dubious distinction of starring in two films with the same exact title. But whereas the second Mr. District Attorey is quite serious, this one at times crosses over into screwball comedy.
As in the second film O'Keefe is a bright young newly minted Assistant who is top in his class which was Harvard and he's got nice blue blood connections. District Attorney Stanley Ridges almost is hammerlocked into hiring him and in his first court appearance, so fastidious is O'Keefe about ethics that he wins an acquittal for gangster Ben Welden. That actually pays off for him later in the film in a very curious way.
O'Keefe is then assigned the toughest case in the office, one of a man who embezzled money which sad to say was marked and then he disappeared. Later on however a couple of those bills show up as being bet by Joan Blair who on a big longshot who comes in. Later on she's killed and so is Charles Arnt who gave her the money.
The real thief is Peter Lorre who is at his creepy best. He has disappeared and can't get at the money anyway which is recorded and hot. But Lorre has something on a lot of the bigshots in town who coincidentally enough are political opponents of Ridges.
Along for the ride is reporter Florence Rice who first hangs around O'Keefe because news seems to break wherever he is, but then they kind of like each other though her help is as dubious as Myrna Loy's for William Powell in The Thin Man.
The first Mr. District Attorney is nicely paced with a lot of laughs from O'Keefe and Rice who almost fall into the solution of all the crime. Mr. District Attorney on radio was a pretty serious program so no wonder they might have felt the need to make a more serious film with this title later.
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