6.8/10
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22 user 6 critic

Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 16 September 1933 (USA)
Butch Saunders has been transferred to Missing Persons because he was too brutal in other police work. He regards the assignment as "kindergarten" work. When a young woman asks him to help ... See full summary »

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Writers:

Robert Presnell Sr. (screen play) (as Robert Presnell), John H. Ayers (story "Missing Men") (as John H. Ayres) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Norma Roberts
Lewis Stone ... Capt. Webb (as Lewis S. Stone)
Pat O'Brien ... Butch Saunders
Glenda Farrell ... Belle Saunders
Allen Jenkins ... Joe Musik
Ruth Donnelly ... Pete
Hugh Herbert ... Hank Slade
Alan Dinehart ... Therme Roberts
Marjorie Gateson ... Mrs. Paul
Tad Alexander ... Caesar Paul
Noel Francis ... Alice Crane
Wallis Clark Wallis Clark ... Mr. Paul
Adrian Morris Adrian Morris ... Detective Irish Conlin
Clay Clement Clay Clement ... Burton C. Kingman
Henry Kolker ... Theodore Arno
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Storyline

Butch Saunders has been transferred to Missing Persons because he was too brutal in other police work. He regards the assignment as "kindergarten" work. When a young woman asks him to help locate her husband, Therme, he learns that she is really Norma Phillips, wanted by Chicago police for murder of her husband. She escapes, but Saunders borrows a corpse from the morgue to arrange her fake funeral. The trap brings the woman and Therme to the mortuary out of curiosity. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SHAME is responsible for the "amnesia" plague which has swept America! See how cases of lost memory are faked so betrayed girls can face the world again! Learn the truth about runaway wives, "lost" women, vanished men in this blazing drama of the super-sleuths who are smashing the snatch racket! (Print Ad- Philadelphia Inquirer, ((Philadelphia, Penna.)) 27 September 1933)

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Missing Persons See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Though Bette Davis is top-billed, she does not appear until the 32nd minute of this 73-minute movie. See more »

Goofs

When Butch goes to Norma's apartment, the music comes on the radio as soon as he touches it - and even before the "click" of the power/volume knob is heard. Radios of the time used vacuum tubes that needed to warm up for a few seconds before sound would come on. See more »

Quotes

Butch Saunders: I betcha a dollar six bits.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented on title cards See more »

Alternate Versions

When the movie was re-released in 1936, the credits were revised to list the then-popular Bette Davis first. The re-released version is the one shown on the Turner Classic Movies channel. It is unknown whether other changes were made. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting only for Davis and O'Brien
18 June 2009 | by sloboneSee all my reviews

If you've already seen all the well-known studio films from the early 30's, it's fun to go back and fill in with some lesser known ones, like this typical Warner's B-movie.

Its director, Roy del Ruth, was strictly B-list at this point in his career. The supporting cast -- Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly, Glenda Farrell, Hugh Herbert -- are familiar from the Busby Berkeley movies, and each brings a stereotyped character briefly to life, which is what they were paid to do. Farrell in particular is funny as a gold-digger.

Pat O'Brien is actually the lead, although Bette Davis was given top billing. He's best known for playing butch types -- reporters, cops, soldiers, manly priests. (In this one, Butch is actually his character's name!) His performance here is surprisingly subtle and varied; it makes me want to see more of his movies.

Unfortunately the story is hopelessly implausible and unconvincing. Davis does the best she can with a confusingly-written part, although I can't quite tell whether she's trying to do an accent or not. And she changes from a blonde to a brunette halfway through -- was she shooting another picture at the same time?

The whole thing looks like it was thrown together in a couple of weeks. Probably the only really demanding scene to film was a car chase near the end, shot on location (or was it stock footage?).

All in all, probably worth 72 minutes of your time if you happen to run across it on TCM. Don't expect too much though...


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