This George Morris story was based on an article that appeared in "Woman's Home Companion" and later reprinted in "Reader's Digest." Eddie Condon, a two-bit racketeer, teams up with an ... See full summary »
This George Morris story was based on an article that appeared in "Woman's Home Companion" and later reprinted in "Reader's Digest." Eddie Condon, a two-bit racketeer, teams up with an alcoholic doctor, Judson, to set up a maternity home with free facilities to expectant mothers, with the proviso that the women sign away all rights to their newborns. The babies are then offered for adaptation to couples willing to make a substantial "contribution" to the home. Things go well for this borderline within-the-law business until a baby is still-born. Conden had already sold the baby for $5,000 and has no intention of returning the money, so he substitutes the child of the sister of his wife. There is a slip-up on the filing of the certificates and the District Attorney's office gets involved. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Leave it to Monogram studios and director "one shot" William Beaudine to attack such a scandalous topic that the major studios only dealt with in a small number of short subjects, particularly MGM's "Crime Does Not Pay" and a series of documentary like exposees from RKO. The title says it all: after agreeing to sell a baby for an unwed mother for $500 ($100 to the unwed mother, $400 to him), drunken doctor Ralph Morgan is forced into a racket by crooked Kane Richmond. "$400 can buy you a lot of rum", he tells Morgan, and before long, the amounts of intake has increased into the thousands. Even Richmond's own sister-in-law becomes his victim, her baby exchanged for another that died, and the two mothers involved start actions that helps to bring this evil racket to its knees.
As sinister and forlorn as real-life brother Frank was "flibbertigibbit", Ralph Morgan made a career out of villains, and here, he is a victim as well as one of the perpetrators. Kane Richmond played by heroes and villains in his career, and no guilt appears to cross his brow as he tells his wife that her sister's baby was stillborn. Gritty, raw and filled with warnings of such goings on in private hospitals which catered to unwed mothers, this is low budget filmmaking at its best, a film noir of the darkest kind because you really see it as true to life and a vision of the darkest side of humanity that goes beyond murder to claim the insurance money and the sexual frustrations of weather beaten men manipulated by devilish women.
The slightly exotic looking Teala Loring plays Morgan's secretary who holds a secret disgust to her knowledge of the crime ring but notifies the big men in charge when the D.A. sends a warrant to search their files. Nana Bryant and Selmer Jackson, as the parents of a deceased soldier anxious to get their hands on their illegitimate grandson, are obviously victims as well, unaware of their illegal participation in an obvious fraud. Morgan plays a villain with conscience, and it is fascinating to watch his story unfold, told in flashback. The ironic conclusion leaves a lot to the viewer's imagination to show how justice ultimately will be served.
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