Criminal Court (1946)

59 or 62-63 mins | Drama | 20 November 1946

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HISTORY

Criminal Court was producer Martin Mooney's first film for RKO. Mooney was a former crime reporter, according to HR . Harold Adamson and James McHugh's songs "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" and "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening," which were sung by Martha O'Driscoll in this film, were first presented in the 1943 RKO picture Higher and Higher (See Entry) and were made popular by Frank ... More Less

Criminal Court was producer Martin Mooney's first film for RKO. Mooney was a former crime reporter, according to HR . Harold Adamson and James McHugh's songs "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" and "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening," which were sung by Martha O'Driscoll in this film, were first presented in the 1943 RKO picture Higher and Higher (See Entry) and were made popular by Frank Sinatra. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Aug 1946.
---
Daily Variety
8 Aug 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 46
p. 2, 3
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 46
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 46
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Apr 46
p. 2963.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Aug 46
p. 3137.
New York Times
16 Nov 46
p. 15.
Variety
14 Aug 46
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" and "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening," words by Harold Adamson, music by Jimmy McHugh.
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 November 1946
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 November 1946
Production Date:
6 March--early April 1946
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 August 1946
Copyright Number:
LP708
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
59 or 62-63
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11554
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Criminal attorney Steve Barnes has made a name for himself with his clever courtroom tactics and dedication to justice. After Steve, who is running for district attorney on a "clean government" platform, exposes Bob J. "Brownie" Brown, a phony eyewitness in a gangland murder case, as a perjurer, he is contacted by Brownie's boss, gangster and nightclub owner Vic Wright. Wright, with whom Steve's girl friend, singer Georgia Gale, has just gotten a job, has learned that Steve owns motion pictures showing members of his gang, including his brother Frankie, bribing various public officials. Acting on orders from his superior, Marquette, to stop Steve at any cost, Wright offers the lawyer a $50,000 campaign "contribution" in exchange for the motion picture negatives. After Steve refuses the bribe, Wright tells him that he has damaging information about him and demands that he not screen the movies for his supporters. Despite Wright's threats, Steve shows the pictures that night at his campaign headquarters, but slips away while they are being projected to confront Wright. Before Steve arrives, Steve's secretary, Joan Mason, consults with Wright in his nightclub office. Joan, who is acting as a spy for Wright, agrees to track down the motion picture negatives and then leaves the office through one door just as Steve comes in by another. Unaware that Joan is eavesdropping on their conversation, Steve laughs off Wright's attempts to scare him with a phony jury tampering confession and slugs the gangster. Infuriated, Wright goes for a gun hidden in a wall panel and threatens Steve with it. During the subsequent struggle, the gun falls and accidentally shoots and kills ... +


Criminal attorney Steve Barnes has made a name for himself with his clever courtroom tactics and dedication to justice. After Steve, who is running for district attorney on a "clean government" platform, exposes Bob J. "Brownie" Brown, a phony eyewitness in a gangland murder case, as a perjurer, he is contacted by Brownie's boss, gangster and nightclub owner Vic Wright. Wright, with whom Steve's girl friend, singer Georgia Gale, has just gotten a job, has learned that Steve owns motion pictures showing members of his gang, including his brother Frankie, bribing various public officials. Acting on orders from his superior, Marquette, to stop Steve at any cost, Wright offers the lawyer a $50,000 campaign "contribution" in exchange for the motion picture negatives. After Steve refuses the bribe, Wright tells him that he has damaging information about him and demands that he not screen the movies for his supporters. Despite Wright's threats, Steve shows the pictures that night at his campaign headquarters, but slips away while they are being projected to confront Wright. Before Steve arrives, Steve's secretary, Joan Mason, consults with Wright in his nightclub office. Joan, who is acting as a spy for Wright, agrees to track down the motion picture negatives and then leaves the office through one door just as Steve comes in by another. Unaware that Joan is eavesdropping on their conversation, Steve laughs off Wright's attempts to scare him with a phony jury tampering confession and slugs the gangster. Infuriated, Wright goes for a gun hidden in a wall panel and threatens Steve with it. During the subsequent struggle, the gun falls and accidentally shoots and kills Wright. Steve returns to his headquarters without calling the police and thereby inadvertently sets up Georgia, who had an appointment with Wright, to be caught by Frankie with the murder weapon in her hand. After a terrified Georgia flees the scene and is arrested, Steve confesses his part in the case. The district attorney, however, is sure that Steve is lying and indicts Georgia on murder charges. Marquette, meanwhile, has ordered Joan not to reveal herself as an eyewitness and has flunky Joe West offer Steve her testimony in exchange for the motion picture negatives. When Georgia deduces that Steve is about to sacrifice his campaign for her freedom, she insists that he pursue the case honestly. The unsuspecting Steve then asks Joan to hire an investigator to track down West's "eyewitness," and the guilt-ridden secretary inadvertently reveals a fact about the case that only an eyewitness could know. During Georgia's trial, Steve suddenly realizes what Joan has done, and after calling her as a surprise witness, thwarts West's attempts to shoot her in court and extracts a confession out of her. With Georgia completely exonerated, Steve then proposes to his ecstatic girl friend. +

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.