Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)

75 or 78 mins | Drama | 16 September 1933

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Cinematographer:

Barney McGill

Editor:

James Gibbon

Production Designer:

Robert Haas

Production Company:

First National Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's pre-release title was Missing Persons . According to news items in DV , Warren William was originally scheduled to play the lead and Charles Wilson was to be a featured player. One-hundred thirty-four extras were used in one day; 200 on another. Correspondence between the AMPP and Warner Bros. executives reveal concern over the portrayal of a ransom demand for a kidnapped person. Modern sources list the following cast: Christian Rub ( Apartment house manager ); Dewey Robinson ( Waterfront diner customer ); Hobart Cavanaugh ( Mr. Harris ); Edward Keane ( Hotel manager ); Frank Darien; Harry C. Bradley; and Grace ... More Less

The film's pre-release title was Missing Persons . According to news items in DV , Warren William was originally scheduled to play the lead and Charles Wilson was to be a featured player. One-hundred thirty-four extras were used in one day; 200 on another. Correspondence between the AMPP and Warner Bros. executives reveal concern over the portrayal of a ransom demand for a kidnapped person. Modern sources list the following cast: Christian Rub ( Apartment house manager ); Dewey Robinson ( Waterfront diner customer ); Hobart Cavanaugh ( Mr. Harris ); Edward Keane ( Hotel manager ); Frank Darien; Harry C. Bradley; and Grace Hayle. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 May 33
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Jun 33
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Jun 33
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Sep 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 33
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
2 Sep 33
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
2 Sep 33
p. 35.
New York Times
9 Sep 33
p. 9.
Variety
12 Sep 33
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
2d cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Chief grip
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Missing Men by Captain John H. Ayers and Carol Bird (New York, 1932).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Missing Persons
Release Date:
16 September 1933
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 September 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4128
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 78
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Police captain Webb is given the department's most difficult missing persons cases to handle. Butch Saunders, one of his staff, has been transferred to Missing Persons because of excessive brutality on his previous assignment. Periodically, his estranged wife Belle makes his life miserable with requests for money. After Saunders successfully finds a missing child prodigy who ran away in an effort to have a normal child's life, he is assigned to find Norma Roberts' missing husband, Therme. Butch is attracted to Norma, in spite of the fact that they are both married, so when Webb tells him that she is really Norma Phillips, and is wanted for the murder of Chicago banker Roberts, Butch doesn't believe the story could be true. Norma talks Butch out of taking her in, but when he returns to her hotel to hear her side of the story, she has disappeared. The police find some of her clothes and her handbag on the dock, but Butch is sure that Norma didn't commit suicide and he stages a fake funeral designed to lure her from hiding. Just as he had hoped, she cannot resist the chance to see her own corpse, and she attends the funeral, as does Roberts. With Butch in close pursuit, Norma runs after Roberts. She tells Butch that when she was Roberts' private secretary, she found out he had an mentally disturbed twin brother. He killed the brother, making it look like he himself was dead in order to escape embezzlement charges. Roberts denies her accusations, but Butch takes him in to the Bureau anyway, where Webb tricks him into admitting the ... +


Police captain Webb is given the department's most difficult missing persons cases to handle. Butch Saunders, one of his staff, has been transferred to Missing Persons because of excessive brutality on his previous assignment. Periodically, his estranged wife Belle makes his life miserable with requests for money. After Saunders successfully finds a missing child prodigy who ran away in an effort to have a normal child's life, he is assigned to find Norma Roberts' missing husband, Therme. Butch is attracted to Norma, in spite of the fact that they are both married, so when Webb tells him that she is really Norma Phillips, and is wanted for the murder of Chicago banker Roberts, Butch doesn't believe the story could be true. Norma talks Butch out of taking her in, but when he returns to her hotel to hear her side of the story, she has disappeared. The police find some of her clothes and her handbag on the dock, but Butch is sure that Norma didn't commit suicide and he stages a fake funeral designed to lure her from hiding. Just as he had hoped, she cannot resist the chance to see her own corpse, and she attends the funeral, as does Roberts. With Butch in close pursuit, Norma runs after Roberts. She tells Butch that when she was Roberts' private secretary, she found out he had an mentally disturbed twin brother. He killed the brother, making it look like he himself was dead in order to escape embezzlement charges. Roberts denies her accusations, but Butch takes him in to the Bureau anyway, where Webb tricks him into admitting the truth. Norma is cleared and Butch discovers that Belle was never divorced from her first husband, so they are free to be with each other. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.