A Fugitive from Justice (1940)

55 mins | Drama | 15 June 1940

Director:

Terry Morse

Writer:

Alex Gottlieb

Cinematographer:

Arthur L. Todd

Editor:

Thomas Pratt

Production Designer:

Stanley Fleischer

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Working titles for this film were Million Dollar Fugitive and Waiting for Lepke . An 18 Oct 1939 HR news item noted that Republic Pictures Corp. purchased the rights to "Million Dollar Fugitive," a series of newspaper stories that appeared in the New York World Telegram , written by Jack Foster. HR noted that the stories were "about the life of Louis Lepke Buchalter, racketeer." Although Fugitive from Justice appears to be about Buchalter, there is no indication that Warner Bros. used Foster's story as the basis for the film. The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that the PCA, in Oct 1939, urged Warner Bros. to eliminate a number of censorable items from the script, including scenes showing "Ruby" dressed in a "scanty costume"; a gun battle between gangsters and police officers; the offensive portrayal of reporters; the sign "men" over a washroom; police dying at the hands of criminals and the letting of air out of tires. The PCA also warned the studio that "there should be nothing suggestive of a 'pansy' act where Ziggy mentions [that he] wears pink ... More Less

Working titles for this film were Million Dollar Fugitive and Waiting for Lepke . An 18 Oct 1939 HR news item noted that Republic Pictures Corp. purchased the rights to "Million Dollar Fugitive," a series of newspaper stories that appeared in the New York World Telegram , written by Jack Foster. HR noted that the stories were "about the life of Louis Lepke Buchalter, racketeer." Although Fugitive from Justice appears to be about Buchalter, there is no indication that Warner Bros. used Foster's story as the basis for the film. The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that the PCA, in Oct 1939, urged Warner Bros. to eliminate a number of censorable items from the script, including scenes showing "Ruby" dressed in a "scanty costume"; a gun battle between gangsters and police officers; the offensive portrayal of reporters; the sign "men" over a washroom; police dying at the hands of criminals and the letting of air out of tires. The PCA also warned the studio that "there should be nothing suggestive of a 'pansy' act where Ziggy mentions [that he] wears pink shorts." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Jun 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
12 Jul 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 40
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Jun 40
p. 22.
New York Times
8 Jul 40
p. 13.
Variety
10 Jul 40
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Waiting for Lepke
Million Dollar Fugitive
Release Date:
15 June 1940
Production Date:
mid October--early November 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 June 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9699
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
55
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5763
SYNOPSIS

Dan Miller, a special investigator for a life insurance company, and his partner, Ziggy, are assigned to find attorney Lee Leslie, the mouthpiece for a gang of criminals led by Julie Alexander, who holds a life insurance policy with the company. The investigators' job is complicated by the fact that the gang is trying to bump Leslie off before he can testify against them in court. To make matters worse, when the gangsters attempt to frame Leslie for the murder of a police officer, the lawyer flees and the police join in the search for him. Meanwhile, Ruby Patterson, a nightclub singer who stands to gain one million dollars from Leslie's insurance policy, tips the gang off to Leslie's hideout, but the clever Leslie avoids their trap. Dan and Ziggy plant a bug in Ruby's room and listen as she, Alexander and the other mobsters plan the kidnapping of Leslie's sister Janet and his mother Henrietta, who have been in hiding since Leslie's alleged police shooting. Hoping to get to Janet and Henrietta before the mobsters do, Dan goes to the hideout and has the police take them to safety. Dan, however, does not escape in time and is found in the apartment by the mobsters. When Leslie phones the hideout, Ruby impersonates Janet to find out his whereabouts and, after tying up Dan, leads the gangsters to him. Soon after the gangsters leave, Ziggy arrives at the hideout and frees Dan, who then finds Leslie before the mobsters do. Although he believes in Leslie's innocence, Dan takes him to Rhode Island to answer the murder charges, but Leslie gives him the ... +


Dan Miller, a special investigator for a life insurance company, and his partner, Ziggy, are assigned to find attorney Lee Leslie, the mouthpiece for a gang of criminals led by Julie Alexander, who holds a life insurance policy with the company. The investigators' job is complicated by the fact that the gang is trying to bump Leslie off before he can testify against them in court. To make matters worse, when the gangsters attempt to frame Leslie for the murder of a police officer, the lawyer flees and the police join in the search for him. Meanwhile, Ruby Patterson, a nightclub singer who stands to gain one million dollars from Leslie's insurance policy, tips the gang off to Leslie's hideout, but the clever Leslie avoids their trap. Dan and Ziggy plant a bug in Ruby's room and listen as she, Alexander and the other mobsters plan the kidnapping of Leslie's sister Janet and his mother Henrietta, who have been in hiding since Leslie's alleged police shooting. Hoping to get to Janet and Henrietta before the mobsters do, Dan goes to the hideout and has the police take them to safety. Dan, however, does not escape in time and is found in the apartment by the mobsters. When Leslie phones the hideout, Ruby impersonates Janet to find out his whereabouts and, after tying up Dan, leads the gangsters to him. Soon after the gangsters leave, Ziggy arrives at the hideout and frees Dan, who then finds Leslie before the mobsters do. Although he believes in Leslie's innocence, Dan takes him to Rhode Island to answer the murder charges, but Leslie gives him the slip en route. Meanwhile, the gangsters succeed in kidnapping Janet and Henrietta and take them to an old warehouse. When Dan and Leslie discover where Janet and Henrietta are being held, they, along with the police, converge upon the warehouse and rescue them. Leslie overpowers Alexander, and the police tear gas the building and kill Alexander. When Leslie emerges from the warehouse, he turns himself in with the assurance that Dan will clear him of the murder charge. +

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

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