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Aunt Emma Bates (Zasu Pitts), a spinster, visits the "Big Town" to see a boxing match participated in by Mickey O'Banion (Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart), son of Emma's old fiancé who was himself a boxing champion. At the arena Emma sits next to Terry (Roger Pryor), a reporter who is trying to track down Rex Crenshaw (Irving Mitchell), lawyer for gangster "Flower" Henderson (Tristram Coffin), who has been kidnapped by rival gang-leader Gus Hammond (Douglas Fowley), and manager of Mickey. After the fight Emma is mistaken for a notorious gun-woman named Ma Parker, and suspected by Hammond's henchmen of working in the interests of Henderson. Mickey is shot during an altercation at Henderson's nightclub and is later kidnapped from the hospital by his manager's men and taken to an East Side outlaw. Emma, in an effort to free Mickey, and with the aid of Maris (Gwen Kenyon), Terry's fiancée, decides to pose as Ma Parker. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Zasu Pitts plays Emma--a spinster who lives with her very legalistic and sexless sisters. Despite this, Emma is a pretty nice old lady--sheltered but sweet. One days she's reading about a young boxer who just happens to be the son of an old boyfriend--a boxer of whom her nasty sisters did not approve decades earlier. On a lark, Emma decides to head to the city to watch the guy fight.
Once in town, she sees that the young boxer is not at all focused and is a bit of a weenie. Emma decides to stick around and give him a bit of advice. However, some gangsters see her and think she's the dreaded 'Ma Parker' (a takeoff on Ma Barker of gangster fame from the 1930s). And, though a series of mistakes, she's caught up the middle of a murder and the police think she might be responsible! Oddly, however, instead of running from this mistaken identity, Emma decides to play it up to the hilt and pretend to actually be Ma Parker! Why, in order to infiltrate the mob and discover where the young boxer is--as he was just kidnapped.
All in all, a crazy and unbelievable sort of plot but it was made enjoyable by Pitts' sweet character. Despite being a B-film from a third-rate studio (Monogram), it's a very enjoyable little comedy mixed with a bit of film noir. Not great--but certainly a lot better than you'd expect.
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