7.0/10
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20 user 4 critic

Night Court (1932)

Judge and his mistress are investigated on suspicions of corruption.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke

Writers:

Bayard Veiller (by), Lenore J. Coffee (by) (as Lenore Coffee) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Phillips Holmes ... Mike Thomas
Walter Huston ... Judge Andrew J. Moffett
Anita Page ... Mary Thomas
Lewis Stone ... Judge William Osgood
Mary Carlisle ... Elizabeth Osgood
John Miljan ... Crawford
Jean Hersholt ... Herman - the Janitor
Tully Marshall ... Grogan
Noel Francis ... Lil Baker
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Storyline

Judge Moffett is as crooked as they come and the Board of Judicial Corruption is after him. He sends his mistress, Lil Baker, away to prevent her from being subpoenaed to testify against him. While living in hiding Lil befriends a neighbor Mary Thomas. During a visit at Mary's apartment next door Lil accidentally drops Moffett's bankbook from her purse (showing a high balance for 1932 of $60,000). When Mary finds it she realizes it belongs to Lil and returns it. Moffett realizes Mary must have read the contents and is concerned she will share the details about the bankbook so he finagles a scheme that brings her to his court on a trumped up charge. To keep her quiet the judge sends her to prison for six months. Mike, Mary's husband, is overcome with grief; when he comes to his senses, he talks to Mary who tells him about the book. This gets Mike beat up and put on a boat to South America, but he jumps ship and plots his revenge. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Its Frankness Will Thrill You---Its Truth Hold You Breathless--- See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bekänn! See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie, we see Judge Moffett's office door. His door has "Judges' Chambers" printed on it, while it should read "Judge's Chambers" as it is his private office, and not shared by other judges. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Madigan: This Judge Moffett is a pretty gay bird. He's keeping a girl by the name of Lil Baker in a Park Avenue apartment. She's got her own auto and everything. Now you gents know what that's called.
See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Hummed by Anita Page
See more »

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User Reviews

Corruption exposed!
23 April 2004 | by rsyungSee all my reviews

Night Court was a slight, but interesting, entry in the pre-code genre of social commentary or expose´ films of the early 1930s…I would say the same group that included the seminal `Public Enemy'. What made this film a joy to watch was not the revelatory peek of criminal machinations pervading the lower levels of the NYC justice system, but the relationship between the cabbie and his wife, unfettered by Production Code standards in effect just a few years later. The scenes of Mike and Mary and their baby in the one bedroom flat they shared were charming, and Anita Page evoked a warmth and naturalism uncommon in those days when the talkie was only 3 years old. No wonder she's still working 70 years later! Walter Huston was downright despicable, and his speeches to his night court denizens about maintaining law and order were rather chilling considering the depth of his criminal manipulations of the justice system. And the setting up of Mary Thomas as a prostitute to discredit her was an eye-opener and quite frank. The film moved along at a good clip, facilitated in no small measure I'm sure by the breezy direction of `One-Take' Woody Van Dyke who had a reputation for bringing a film ahead of schedule and under budget. Perhaps it is for this reason that scenes play out naturalistically, with the actors given what appears to be some latitude with the dialogue and action in order to move things along. Some occasional hammy acting doesn't really detract from the pre-code forthrightness of the picture.


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