Thursday, April 28, 2005

DVD: Lady Gangster (1942)

Rosemarie here again.

Here’s an offer we couldn’t pass up. Ten movies on disc for $5.99. Used, sure. Public domain prints, no doubt. But less than $6.00? C’mon, you have to take a flyer on that. Which is how Vince and I came into possession of GANGSTERS. Five double-sided DVDs with movies like MA BARKER’S KILLER BROOD, GANG BUSTERS and, of course, LADY GANGSTER.

This 1942 picture stars Faye Emerson as Dot Burton, a tough dame who helps out with a bank robbery, gets sent to the big house and then manipulates a lox of a radio announcer, Kenneth Phillips (Frank Wilcox) to help get her paroled so she can stop the rest of the crew from taking off with her share of the loot.

The few plot summaries I was able to find make it sound like poor Dot gets mixed up with some bad guys and regrets it. That’s not the movie I saw. Dot never stops scheming. Emerson is great in the role – you believe she’ll do whatever’s necessary to hold onto that $10Gs she earned. Gotta love those fierce brunettes. The ending comes a little fast (it is only 62 minutes long) and tries to get us to believe that Dot will go straight and marry Ken. I didn’t go for it. I bet she got out of town long before the parson showed up.

Ruth Ford is hissable as the cellblock snitch. Julie Bishop plays Myrtle, Dot’s only friend in prison. Myrtle. That’s not a name you hear much anymore. I think it’s due for a comeback.

TV: Footsteps in the Dark (1941)

Turner Classic Movies’ star of the month for April has been Errol Flynn. I caught the special they put together on his life, but managed to miss all the movies. Well, all but one. FOOTSTEPS is a light comedy/murder mystery. Flynn plays a stodgy upper class banker by day who is a mystery writer by – well, by day and night. (He doesn’t seem to do any actual banking-type activities. And really, would you trust Errol Flynn with your money? I didn’t think so.) He’s got a separate house for writing and a chauffeur/typist played by the great Allen Jenkins. Seeing Jenkins reminds me it’s about time to watch 42nd STREET again.

It occurred to me, watching Flynn climb into his own bedroom window in the middle of the night, that those separate beds mandated for married couples by the Hays Office made it that much easier for a husband to sneak into bed while his wife was sleeping. Chalk another one up to the ingenuity of the Hollywood screenwriter.