6.2/10
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16 user 2 critic

Slightly Honorable (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 22 December 1939 (USA)
A lawyer is framed for the murder of a young party girl and tries to clear his name.

Director:

Tay Garnett

Writers:

Ken Englund (screenplay), John Hunter Lay (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat O'Brien ... John Webb
Edward Arnold ... Vincent Cushing
Broderick Crawford ... Russ Sampson
Ruth Terry ... Ann Seymour
Alan Dinehart ... Commisioner Joyce
Claire Dodd ... Alma Brehmer
Phyllis Brooks ... Sarilla Cushing
Eve Arden ... Miss Ater
Douglass Dumbrille ... George Taylor
Bernard Nedell ... Pete Godena
Douglas Fowley ... Madder
Ernest Truex ... P. Hemingway Collins
Janet Beecher ... Mrs. Cushing
Evelyn Keyes ... Miss Vlissigen
John Sheehan ... Mike Daley
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Storyline

Attorney John Webb, is fighting the crooked political-ring headed by newspaper publisher Vincent Cushing and his crony George Joyce, the district attorney. When Alma Brehmer, Cushing's mistress and Webb's former sweetheart, is murdered, Cushing and Joyce try to railroad Webb as the killer. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WHAT A MYSTERY! FRESHER! FASTER!! FUNNIER!!!...and what FUN! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Send Another Coffin See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The scene where Sampson rushes in with a "habeas corpus" and the police release Webb when he was being arrested for the murder of his secretary is a complete misconstruing of the procedure. A writ of habeas corpus does not prevent anyone from being arrested. It is used to force a custodial or detention authority to prove that they are lawfully holding the arrested or confined person. A writ would be presented after the person is taken into custody and might possibly result in release if the authority can't produce credible evidence or suspicion to justify the person being held. See more »

Goofs

The police have the suspects take off their shoes. Webb laughs and jostles Ann Seymour to look at Cushing's socks. The scene moves to Cushing, but he still has his shoes on. A police officer takes off his left shoe and he has a hole in the toe of his sock. See more »

Quotes

George Taylor: Who's conducting this inquiry - the police or this ambulance chaser?
See more »

Soundtracks

Cupid's After Me
Lyrics and music by Jule Styne
Sung by Ruth Terry
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Uneven murder mystery with good cast, solid plot, odd humor
1 June 2012 | by csteidlerSee all my reviews

Fast talking lawyer Pat O'Brien sets out to do a job—on the level, but only for the money, it seems. The "job" is fighting the highway monopoly controlled by smooth talking crime boss Edward Arnold. Broderick Crawford is O'Brien's law partner and pal; they set out to take down Arnold and his empire.

Sounds like a solid drama, but…soon silly girl singer Ruth Terry is telling O'Brien "I like you" at a party. He half-heartedly discourages her enthusiastic advances on him, and he doesn't quite believe that she's eighteen years and two months old, as she says; however, she persists in chasing him around for the rest of the movie, wearing down his resistance and distracting him from the real plot—

A woman is murdered and the few clues point toward O'Brien. Who really did the murder, and why is O'Brien being framed? –There's the mystery O'Brien has to sort out, with assistance (and frequent interference) from partner Crawford, from the kid singer Terry, and from the cops—who may be Arnold's stooges.

Bizarre humorous touches distract somewhat from the mystery plot; for example, the scene in which all of the suspects remove their shoes to be examined for blood stains, and Edward Arnold has an embarrassing hole in the toe of his sock. Terry and O'Brien giggle madly…even though the corpse is still lying in the next room. It just doesn't quite fit.

I would have liked to see more of three other women characters: Claire Dodd as an early victim (intimate friends with more than one suspect), Eve Arden as O'Brien's secretary (smart and ready), and Phyllis Brooks as Arnold's daughter (conscience crying out as she learns about her father). All are very good in too small roles.

We do get plenty of Ruth Terry…who is actually very good herself, except that hers and O'Brien's relationship never really convinces, the chemistry never really gels. Unfortunately for her, she comes across as rather annoying.

One truly chilling moment involves a discovery at a desk—a shock that is totally unexpected and perfectly executed.

Otherwise, the plot is passable, the cast a bunch of pros, the dialog zippy—and the romance and humor a little oddball. Fun—just a little unsteady.


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