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Afterseeking revenge for her boyfriend, Joan Woodbury finds herself in jail on a hit-and-run charge. Ladd plays an undercover reporter doubling for a notorious gangster. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Although Alan Ladd has a supporting role in Paper Bullets and in fact gives the film its title, the star here is Joan Woodbury who plays a girl done wrong by the worthless guy she loves and then starts taking it out on a lot of people.
In a brief prologue to the story Woodbury as a child sees her gangster father gunned down for being a stool pigeon. She then spends the rest of her childhood in an orphanage where she meets two of the men who would later play critical roles in her life.
This woman learned not a thing from her tough upbringing however. She stupidly agrees to plead guilty to a vehicular homicide that her drunk date Philip Trent committed and she goes to prison for it. That gives her a far more cynical attitude and for the rest of the film, Woodbury is giving as good as she gets as she rises in the gangland underworld.
Woodbury developed one interesting character, it's a pity that it is attached to a muddled story which drifts off on tangents. The two men in her life are aircraft designer John Bryant and gangster Jack LaRue who also were in that same orphanage. LaRue has a similarly interesting character, but he's also defeated by the script and horrible editing.
As for Alan Ladd he's the only reason this PRC B feature is remembered. He also shows something of what his tightlipped screen persona would be like when he became a star. Ladd plays an undercover cop.
As for the title Ladd tells one of his associates that the gangsters now use Paper Bullets to control a city which are votes. Now that's something today's audience can identify with.
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