A young woman is on death row for the murder of a man who was blackmailing her family, although she claims she was framed. Her fiance, a doctor who is conducting experiments on reviving the... See full summary »
Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.
A man known to be a mute is suspected of committing a murder, as he was noticed at the scene. However, witnesses saw and heard him talking as he was leaving the scene of the crime. The ... See full summary »
A wife convinces her husband to fake his death so they can collect on the life insurance. However, he doesn't know that she has been having an affair for some time, and she has plans for the money - and they don't include him.
A young woman is on death row for the murder of a man who was blackmailing her family, although she claims she was framed. Her fiance, a doctor who is conducting experiments on reviving the dead, also happens to be the state's executioner, and is assigned to pull the switch when she is strapped into the electric chair. A famous criminologist, believing her to be innocent, rushes to investigate the case and clear her before her execution date. Written by
This tautly constructed little movie should serve as a model for those modern film authors who cannot unfold the simplest story line in less than two hours.
The movie opens with Mary Kirk being led from her cell to walk to the death chamber. She leaves a letter for Charles Finch, a psychologist and criminologist. In it she has outlined the events which led to her situation. We then see Finch reading the letter to a small group of reporters, supplementing it with an account of his own involvement in the affair. His first person narrative alternates with flashback depiction of the events. Half way into the movie he has reached the point at which Mary was convicted and sentenced to death. The next 20 minutes cover his subsequent efforts to find the evidence which will clear her. He still has not succeeded by the time we have caught up to the opening of the movie and see Mary finish her walk to the electric chair. The remaining few minutes are a desperate race against the clock played more or less in real time.
The movie does not waste an inch of film. Every scene conveys information and advances the action, with smooth and skillful links. Particularly effective is the way in which the character of Mary's younger sister, Suzy, is handled. Her appearances are almost always incidental to the main action, but as the movie progresses it becomes clear that she is somehow central to the solution.
The nature of the plot means that the title character plays a passive rather than an active role. Jean Parker is persuasive in the part, wisely forgoing the opportunities for melodramatics. Marcia Mae Jones' porcelain-doll prettiness frequently led to her being cast as a vain and foolish little madam, and her role here as Suzy suits her talents. Lionel Atwill makes a convincing sleuth, neatly conveying a blend of scientific detachment, humanitarian concern, and an occasional twinkle of humour.
Anybody who thinks that "first class B movie" is an oxymoron should study this film and learn better.
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