The police have files on many different types of con artists, among them fake spiritualists or psychics who prey upon the desperation of individuals looking for information as comfort. One ... See full summary »
The police have files on many different types of con artists, among them fake spiritualists or psychics who prey upon the desperation of individuals looking for information as comfort. One specific individual for which they have a file is Dr. Rupert Trykel, who called himself a spiritualist, but who was really a shyster. He had stable of associates who acted both as his faithful followers to their marks, but also as researchers who dug up the most basic of information on those marks to use to feed back to the mark at their sessions. One of his marks was Mrs. Martha Kenneson, who was desperate for information on her son, Philip Kenneson Jr., a soldier who had been listed as MIA for six months when she first went to see Trykel. As desperate as Mrs. Kenneson was to find out information about her son, for which she would continually and somewhat happily pay for more and more, people like Dr. Trykel, who work just within the law, are equally desperate: desperate to maintain their con and ... Written by
A rarely seen dramatic performance by matronly Ann Shoemaker, who played dozens of "mother" roles in the '40s and beyond, adds some interest to this otherwise run-of-the-mill MGM short. The cautionary tale shows how a team of "confidence men" (and a couple little old ladies, inexplicably) interviewed neighbors and pored over newspaper archives to help their ringleader con an unwitting, grieving mother (Shoemaker) out of her life savings. (In a dramatic moment, after confessing her sins to her mousy husband, she steps in front of a car, ending her own sad existence). TCM occasionally airs this as one of its One Reel Wonders. It's worth catching, for camp value, if you get a chance.
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