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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 »

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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?


To promote the film, Warner Bros. issued a statement that it would pay $10,000 to Joseph F. Crater--a prominent New York City judge who disappeared in August of 1930--if he would come to see the movie at the box office. Crater never came, and his disappearance remains unsolved. See more »


Butch tells Capt. Webb he found Caesar on a roof on 10th Avenue, which is on the west side of Manhattan. However from shots from the roof, the Manhattan Bridge is visible, which spans the East River from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. The bridge is too close for the rooftop to be on 10th Avenue. See more »


Butch Saunders: Say, you been smokin' hop?
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

23 October 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Pat O'Brien, Lewis Stone, Bette Davis, Glenda Farrell, and Allen Jenkins star in "Bureau of Missing Persons," a 1933 film from Warner Brothers. I noticed that one person who posted said that this was an extremely fast-moving film. I thought it would never end.

O'Brien plays Butch Saunders, a detective who is thought to have been a little too violent in his police work, so he is assigned the Bureau. He turns out to be good at his job.

Davis plays a young woman whose husband is missing. Normally in her early films, Davis is very blond, and very glamorous. Here she's not. Her role is an interesting one, with a couple of twists. She's very good, of course, but I doubt she would have been happy in this type of role for her entire career.

There are some other plot lines going on, with Lewis Stone a kindly man who tries to help people, and Glenda Farrell gives a fun performance as Belle. It's a familiar cast in their very young days and worth seeing for that reason. I admit I found it dragged a little.

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