The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958)

76 or 78 mins | Drama | March 1958

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Producer:

Bryan Foy

Cinematographer:

Burnett Guffey

Production Designer:

Ross Bellah

Production Company:

Yof Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Other Life of Lynn Stuart and The Grasshopper . Before the opening credits roll, Edmund G. Brown, then the Attorney General of California, introduces himself and explains that the story "you are about to see" is true. Onscreen credits note that the film was based on newspaper articles written by Santa Ana reporter Pat Michaels. The True Story of Lynn Stuart marked the screen debut of Gavin ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Other Life of Lynn Stuart and The Grasshopper . Before the opening credits roll, Edmund G. Brown, then the Attorney General of California, introduces himself and explains that the story "you are about to see" is true. Onscreen credits note that the film was based on newspaper articles written by Santa Ana reporter Pat Michaels. The True Story of Lynn Stuart marked the screen debut of Gavin MacLeod. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Sep 57
p. 581.
Box Office
24 Feb 1958.
---
Daily Variety
13 Feb 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Feb 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Feb 58
p. 717.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on newspaper articles by Pat Michaels.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Other Life of Lynn Stuart
The Grasshopper
Release Date:
March 1958
Production Date:
12 Aug--27 Aug 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
29 March 1958
Copyright Number:
LP10268
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
76 or 78
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18814
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After her nephew is killed in a car accident while in a drug induced state, housewife Phyllis Carter attends the coroner’s inquest, where she upbraids Lt. Jim Hagan of the Santa Ana sheriff’s department for failing to crack down on drugs. Following the inquest, Phyllis goes to the sheriff’s department and volunteers to become an undercover agent. Hagan is dismissive of her offer until he learns that his informant in Tijuana, Mexico has been killed. With the informant’s death, the surveillance of drug smuggler Willie Down, who the police had hoped would lead them to the head of the ring, hits a dead end. Now desperate, Hagan asks Phyllis to go undercover and win Willie’s confidence. After Hagan assures Phyllis’ husband Ralph and son Jimmie that a police escort will be watching her at all times, Ralph agrees to let her accept the job on the condition that she will quit when he tells her to. A new identity is fabricated for Phyllis—that of Lynn Stuart, a former gun moll who is on parole after serving time in a West Virginia penitentiary. Posing as Lynn, Phyllis is hired as a waitress at a drive-in frequented by the smugglers. One night, Willie comes to the drive-in and starts to flirt with Phyllis. After he returns the next evening, two uniformed police officers come to harass "Lynn" about her parole, thus convincing Willie that she can be trusted. Willie invites Phyllis to go bowling, and at the alley, three plainclothes police officers appear and insist on frisking Willie. After Willie surreptitiously slips a packet of drugs into Phyllis' pocket, the woman ... +


After her nephew is killed in a car accident while in a drug induced state, housewife Phyllis Carter attends the coroner’s inquest, where she upbraids Lt. Jim Hagan of the Santa Ana sheriff’s department for failing to crack down on drugs. Following the inquest, Phyllis goes to the sheriff’s department and volunteers to become an undercover agent. Hagan is dismissive of her offer until he learns that his informant in Tijuana, Mexico has been killed. With the informant’s death, the surveillance of drug smuggler Willie Down, who the police had hoped would lead them to the head of the ring, hits a dead end. Now desperate, Hagan asks Phyllis to go undercover and win Willie’s confidence. After Hagan assures Phyllis’ husband Ralph and son Jimmie that a police escort will be watching her at all times, Ralph agrees to let her accept the job on the condition that she will quit when he tells her to. A new identity is fabricated for Phyllis—that of Lynn Stuart, a former gun moll who is on parole after serving time in a West Virginia penitentiary. Posing as Lynn, Phyllis is hired as a waitress at a drive-in frequented by the smugglers. One night, Willie comes to the drive-in and starts to flirt with Phyllis. After he returns the next evening, two uniformed police officers come to harass "Lynn" about her parole, thus convincing Willie that she can be trusted. Willie invites Phyllis to go bowling, and at the alley, three plainclothes police officers appear and insist on frisking Willie. After Willie surreptitiously slips a packet of drugs into Phyllis' pocket, the woman officer in the group decides to search her. Willie is surprised when the officer fails to find the drugs, and after the police leave, Phyllis shows him the bowling ball in which she stuffed the package. Impressed by Phyllis’ dexterity, Willie recruits her into the smuggling ring and boasts that he will run it one day. Willie then explains the operation to Phyllis and shows her the ring’s drop-off points. Later, Phyllis pinpoints the locations for the police so that they can set traps for the buyers. When Jimmie begins having nightmares about his mother’s continual absences, Ralph insists that she stop and Phyllis promises to quit the next night. The following day, Willie goes to a used car lot that is a front for “Doc,” one of the smugglers. There, the two plot to hijack a shipment of drugs after it leaves Tijuana. Concerned about Willie’s attraction to "Lynn", Doc calls Sue, a member of the gang who served time with her and has never met Phyllis. After Sue attests to "Lynn’s" credentials, Doc gives Willie his blessing. Doc has amassed a fleet of 1949 Mercurys to transport the contraband, and Willie drives off in one of them. On his way to Tijuana, Willie surprises Phyllis at the drive-in and insists that she join him. Meanwhile, unknown to Phyllis, Jimmie has contracted a serious case of pneumonia and the police are desperately trying to notify her. Once Willie and Phyllis cross the Mexican border, Fred, the man who informed Doc about the shipment, meets them and demands a bigger cut of the deal. After driving onto a deserted stretch of road, Willie leaves Phyllis with the car and tells her to pretend that she has engine trouble when the truck transporting the drug shipment appears. As the truckers climb down to help her, Willie shoots them and then kills Fred. Willie then throws the hysterical Phyllis into the car and drives off, informing her that Sue, her old prison roommate, will meet them shortly. After passing through customs at the border, Willie stops at a gas station and Phyllis asks to use the restroom. There, Phyllis uses her lipstick to pen a plea for help on a paper towel, but the towel falls to the ground and is overlooked by the attendant. At a Garden Grove motel, Willie pulls into a parking lot filled with 1949 Mercurys and then takes Phyllis to the rendezvous with Doc and the rest of the gang. When Phyllis hears a police announcement broadcast over the radio asking Phyllis Carter to hurry home to her sick son, she becomes overwrought, prompting Doc to tell Willie to “get rid” of her. Leaving Willie and Phyllis behind in the motel room, the rest of the gang goes to the parking lot to meet Sue. When Sue pulls in, Hagan and his men spring from the shadows and arrest Doc and the others. Hearing strange noises, Willie steps outside the motel room and is wounded in a shootout with the police. To maintain Phyllis' cover, the officers arrest her, after which she is brought before the Grand Jury. After her testimony is completed, Phyllis is reunited with the Ralph and the now-recovered Jimmie. For Phyllis’ protection, the family is then relocated to start a new life. +

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.