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The Pay Off (1942)

Passed  |   |  Action, Crime, Film-Noir  |  24 November 1942 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 92 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

The city's District Attorney is murdered, and a newspaper reporter investigates. He starts finding out that everything wasn't quite as cut and dried as it appeared to be.

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(screenplay), (original story)
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Guy Norris
Tina Thayer ...
Phyllis Walker
...
Alma Dorn
...
John Angus
Ian Keith ...
Inspector Thomas
Robert Middlemass ...
Lester Norris
John Maxwell ...
Moroni
John Sheehan ...
Sergeant Brenen
Harry C. Bradley ...
Dr. Steele (as Harry Bradley)
...
Hugh Walker
Pat Costello ...
Pat--Reporter
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Storyline

Special prosecutor Lloyd Pearson has been murdered and there is strong evidence that gambler Moroni committed the crime, but he has an air-tight alibi, spending the evening with Brad McKay, star reporter of the Chronicle. Norris, the publisher, send Brad and his son, Guy Norris, to cover the story. Brad learns that Moroni did commit the murder, but has no way to prove it. Moroni tells Brad that the murdered prosecutor was getting a payoff, and was killed by his assistant Hugh Walker following a quarrel. John Angus, proprietor of the Hi Lo Club, tells Moroni that Brad suspects him. Phyllis Walker tells Brad that her father is in danger from Moroni. Hugh Walker has given her a key to the public locker where some money is hidden. That night, Brad finds Moroni dead. He realizes there is a higher-up that had Moroni kill Pearson, and then has had Moroni killed. He learns that Walker has been kidnapped, but secures the money from the locker and hides it in his apartment. He meets Alma Dorne ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AN AIR-TIGHT ALIB? He thought he had an air-tight alibi...but a fast-talking newshawk punched holes in it! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

24 November 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Danaro e sangue  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Didn't Lee Tracy invent the fast-talking newspaper reporter character?
18 October 2011 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Lee Tracy pretty easily carries the show in this fast-moving drama featuring fast talking and a set of familiar supporting characters ranging from the cub reporter to the police inspector needing help to the shady club owner to the girl whose father is in trouble. Evelyn Brent is the one other somewhat interesting character—as the wise female on the wrong side of the law, she's a challenge for Tracy to try and pull over to his side.

Tom Brown is the publisher's son who doubles as the cub reporter trying to learn the business; he's not particularly exciting but eager and fresh-faced and he does throw one punch. Tina Thayer as the daughter of the missing suspect doesn't have much to do and isn't given much to say, but she wears a worried look the best she can. Many other familiar faces populate the rest of the cast—the usual assortment of cops, crooks and reporters.

Oh, the plot? It's fairly complex, actually, having to do with a murdered special prosecutor investigating corruption and a $100,000 payoff that gets chased around for most of the picture.

The script is full of snappy dialog, some of it having to do with the plot, some just clever filler (Brown asks Tracy what they're going to do now, to which Tracy responds, "Slight pause for station identification."). Tracy also tells Brent in the first moments after their meeting, "After one drink, I propose," which adds a little nicely-calculated tension to their future encounters.

Worth a look for those of us who like rapid-fire dialog and don't mind a few clinkers or clichés.


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