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 »


Roy Del Ruth


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

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The lifestyles of Arlene and Valkyr Bradford, half-sisters from a respected San Francisco family, diverge markedly as Arlene takes up with criminals.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Bette Davis, Donald Woods, Margaret Lindsay
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When his fiancée Valentine dumps him, prominent lawyer Geoffrey Sherwood goes on a bender and winds up married to a stranger, Miriam Brady. They decide to give their marriage a chance. ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Bette Davis, Ian Hunter, Colin Clive
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Racketeers flood the market with counterfeit cosmetics and drugs, causing some tragedies.

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Charles Farrell, Bette Davis, Ricardo Cortez
Ex-Lady (1933)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Although free spirit Helen Bauer does not believe in marriage, she consents to marry Don, but his infidelities cause her to also take on a lover.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bette Davis, Gene Raymond, Frank McHugh
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Brash hoodlum Tom Connors enters Sing Sing cocksure of himself and disrespectful toward authority, but his tough but compassionate warden changes him.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Arthur Byron
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Successful wealthy shoe manufacturer John Reeves takes a vacation, leaving his business in the hands of his nephew. While on vacation Reeves runs into his rival's heirs, who are living it ... See full summary »

Director: John G. Adolfi
Stars: George Arliss, Bette Davis, Theodore Newton
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Sherwood Nash is a swindler who bootlegs Paris fashions for sale at cut-rate prices. His assistant Lynn poses as An American interested in a dress and Snap conceals a camera in his cane. ... See full summary »

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: William Powell, Bette Davis, Frank McHugh
Bordertown (1935)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Embittered when prejudice cuts short his nascent law career, once-idealistic Johnny Ramirez leaves his home in Los Angeles and ends up in Mexico. He quickly becomes the invaluable ... See full summary »

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Margaret Lindsay
Housewife (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Nan Reynolds encourages her copywriter husband Bill to open his own agency. Nearly out of business, he finally gets a client. Former girlfriend Patricia Berkeley writes a very successful ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: George Brent, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Mary Donnell, a young legal secretary with a past, elopes with a client's son, but his father has the marriage annulled without knowing she's pregnant.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Anita Louise
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman reporter tries to prove she's just as good as any man, but runs into trouble along the way.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Roscoe Karns


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


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


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)


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Missing Persons See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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


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 »


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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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...

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 22 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed