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Paper Bullets (1941)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 June 1941 (USA)
Circumstances force naive Dorothy Adams into serving an unjust prison term, but she emerges from it a cynical criminal who rises to power in the local crime organization.


Phil Rosen


Martin Mooney (story and screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Woodbury ... Rita Adams
Jack La Rue ... Mickey Roman
Linda Ware Linda Ware ... Donna Andrews
John Archer ... Bob Elliott
Vince Barnett ... Scribbler, a Petty Forger
Alan Ladd ... Jimmy Kelly aka Bill Dugan
Gavin Gordon ... Kurt Parrish
Phillip Trent ... Harold DeWitt
William Halligan William Halligan ... Police Chief Flynn
George Pembroke George Pembroke ... Clarence DeWitt
Selmer Jackson ... District Attorney
Kenneth Harlan ... Jim Adams
Bryant Washburn ... Attorney Bruce King
Stephen Chase ... Detective Joe Kent (as Alden Chase)
Robert Strange ... Lou Wood


Afterseeking revenge for her boyfriend, Joan Woodbury finds herself in jail on a hit-and-run charge. Ladd plays an undercover reporter doubling for a notorious gangster. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every ballot ... a vote for murder!


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 June 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gang War See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Agent Sue Carol had two clients, Philip Trent and future husband Alan Ladd, cast in the film. Ladd was to portray a playboy while Trent has a showier role as an undercover agent masquerading as his gangster double. Carol arranged to have them switch parts. Shortly after, Paramount signed Ladd to a contract and he was cast as the professional killer in "This Gun for Hire." See more »

Crazy Credits

Norman Winter (Vocal teacher for Linda Ware) See more »


Blue Is the Day
by Maurice King (as Maurice Kozinsky), Johnny Lange and Lew Porter
Performed by Linda Ware
See more »

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User Reviews

A Must for Joan Woodbury Fans!
12 July 2008 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

This movie is still alive and kicking today thanks to the presence of Alan Ladd. This is good in one way because the movie has some interesting things to say, but bad in another because everyone who watches it expecting that tough-guy Ladd is going to hoop through his usual paces, is going to be mighty disappointed. Without fanfare or introduction, Ladd is suddenly introduced in the third reel. True, his role is a key one but it's small and likely to get lost in the shuffle. There are many key roles in former newspaperman Martin Mooney's ambivalent screenplay which hits out at all political alliances and quite ruthlessly denigrates Reform candidates. It's the lovely and extremely talented Joan Woodbury who ties the various strands of the wide-ranging story together. Unlike the usual Hollywood production, the plot actually proceeds in a series of jumps, much like the films later turned out by the French "New Wave", though easier to follow here, especially if you are aware that the film's original title was Paper Bullets. Nonetheless, some of the film's narrative and character switches are a little disconcerting, particularly in the role played by Jack LaRue who has wisely elected to act the part in a strangely non-committal way. One of Jack's best acting jobs ever, but no-one is likely to notice, alas!

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