November of 2015, and since I have been availing myself of some of the splendid B-movie fare from The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ of late (if you work it right, you can fit two second features on one disc), I figured why not apply some paddles to this long-dormant Thrilling Days of Yesteryear feature. (I have also taken the liberty of cleverly changing its title; I have become terribly spoiled with our DISH Hopper—it allows me to transcribe a lot of TCM’s movies to play back at a more convenient time—so it's more accurate to say “from the DVR.”)
Don Winslow of the Navy .)
Accidents Will Happen (1938)—reviewed in this space last week.
Alcatraz Island (1937) – John Litel gets top billing in this Warner’s effort released by the studio’s B-picture unit after their success with another “ripped from the headlines” vehicle, San Quentin (1937). Our man John is ‘Gat’ Brady…and though he should write “notorious racketeer” in the ‘Occupation’ portion of his income tax returns, he’s also a doting father who’s stashed his daughter Annabel (Mary Maguire) in a private girls’ school lest she learn the truth about what her pop does for a living. (It don’t make no never mind to Ann, though—she’s been clued into her father’s activities and loves him just the same.) Gat is planning to take Ann to visit Europe when he gets a visit from the Feds: it turns out he hasn’t been filling out those tax returns I mentioned earlier, and though Gat’s clever attorney Fred MacLane (Addison Richards) cuts a deal for Brady to get a slap on the wrist (six months in the pokey and a $50,000 fine) the judge (Walter Young) winds up throwing the book at the Gatster, sentencing him to five years in Leavenworth. (Just like real life, he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm.)
|Ann Sheridan, John Litel|
Missing Witnesses is an unofficial remake of Bureau of Missing Persons (1933). Both feature hothead cops (Pat O’Brien in Persons, Purcell in Witnesses) who are dangerously close to getting the heave-ho from the force…and while O’Brien’s favorite phrase is “I’ll bet you a dollar six bits” Purcell prefers “Well, there’s no harm in tryin’.” (The characters played by Bette Davis [Persons] and Jean Dale [Witnesses] are also quite similar, even both hiding in closets at points in the action.) Missing Witnesses was purportedly based on several cases investigated by then-Big Apple D.A. (and future New York Governor/Presidential nominee) Thomas A. Dewey.
|Litel, June Travis, Dick Foran|
Invisible Stripes  and You Can’t Get Away With Murder ). Despite the handicap that is Dick Foran, Wall is a diverting little flick with good performances from Litel, Purcell, Bond, Stone, Hamilton, and Veda Ann Borg (as the dame what spills the beans on Purcell). (I also giggled at seeing Preston Sturges regular Jimmy Conlin as Foran’s “handler” and a young, thin Dick Wessel as the inmate responsible for Stone’s “accident.”)
|Marie Wilson, Sheridan, Margaret Lindsay|
|Janet Chapman, Litel, Sheridan|
n cases supervised by New York D.A. (and future Presidential nominee) Thomas A, Dewey