Parole! (1936)

65 or 67 mins | Drama | 14 June 1936

Director:

Lew Landers

Cinematographer:

George Robinson

Editor:

Philip Cahn

Production Designer:

Albert D'Agostino

Production Company:

Universal Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Although a print of this film was not viewed, the above credits and summary were taken from a studio cutting continuity and dialogue script. The working titles of the film were What Price Parole and Paroled . According to FD , this was Universal's first production under the "regime" of Charles Rogers. Universal Cost Files at the USC Cinema-Television Library list "Shannon and Cohn" as contributing writers on this film. The credit may refer to writers Robert T. Shannon and Albert J. Cohen, who collaborated on other Universal films. According to a HR news item on 1 Nov 1937, Charles Maxwell was the composer and arranger for part of this film's score. From the continuity of this film, it is not clear whether "Okay" is killed as he swims away or escapes. After "Okay" leaps into the water and is fired at, he exits the frame swimming, and the reel ends with a police officer firing at him in the background. After this scene, his character is no longer referred to in the script. Numerous reviews mention the timeliness of the film's topic. An ad in MPH , which asks, "Is parole merciful--or murderous?," includes clips of undated newspaper articles with headlines such as, "Weak Parole System and Reduced Pleas Held Factors Behind Murder." Among the newspapers cited are the New York World-Telegram , which states, "Recent crimes committed by men on parole indicate that the system is not working as a safeguard to society as had been intended," and the New York Evening Journal , which cites statistics of the U.S. Dept. of Justice Uniform Crime ... More Less

Although a print of this film was not viewed, the above credits and summary were taken from a studio cutting continuity and dialogue script. The working titles of the film were What Price Parole and Paroled . According to FD , this was Universal's first production under the "regime" of Charles Rogers. Universal Cost Files at the USC Cinema-Television Library list "Shannon and Cohn" as contributing writers on this film. The credit may refer to writers Robert T. Shannon and Albert J. Cohen, who collaborated on other Universal films. According to a HR news item on 1 Nov 1937, Charles Maxwell was the composer and arranger for part of this film's score. From the continuity of this film, it is not clear whether "Okay" is killed as he swims away or escapes. After "Okay" leaps into the water and is fired at, he exits the frame swimming, and the reel ends with a police officer firing at him in the background. After this scene, his character is no longer referred to in the script. Numerous reviews mention the timeliness of the film's topic. An ad in MPH , which asks, "Is parole merciful--or murderous?," includes clips of undated newspaper articles with headlines such as, "Weak Parole System and Reduced Pleas Held Factors Behind Murder." Among the newspapers cited are the New York World-Telegram , which states, "Recent crimes committed by men on parole indicate that the system is not working as a safeguard to society as had been intended," and the New York Evening Journal , which cites statistics of the U.S. Dept. of Justice Uniform Crime Reports that state that a criminal serving a life sentence averages only ten years behind bars, a convicted murderer, four years, and a criminal serving a ten-year sentence, one to three-and-a-half years. A MPD ad addresses J. Edgar Hoover: "You are the chief crook-catcher of the nation. You trapped Dillinger, Nelson...et al. But you're going to get your most tremendous kick out of Universal's 'Parole!'" Joseph Lapis is credited with sound in an early HR production chart, but is not credited in the cutting continuity and receives no mention in reviews. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Jun 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Jun 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 36
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 37
p. 12.
Motion Picture Daily
19 May 36
p. 9.
Motion Picture Daily
9 Jun 36
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
9 May 36
p. 38, 49
Motion Picture Herald
4 Jul 36
p. 48.
New York Times
27 Jun 36
p. 21.
The Exhibitor
15-Jun-36
---
Variety
1 Jul 36
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Selmar Jackson
Clifford Jones
Howard C. Hickman
William "Billy" Gilbert
June Gittleson
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
Idea suggested by
Idea suggested by
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Sd supv
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr clerk
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
What Price Parole
Paroled
Release Date:
14 June 1936
Production Date:
27 March--18 April 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 June 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6409
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
65 or 67
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2230
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In a state penitentiary on New Year's Eve, gangster "Okay" Percy Smith knifes fellow inmate Zingo Browning, killing him. The next day, convicted lawyers Russell Whalen and Marty Crawford plead their cases before the Parole Board. Russ is released on parole, while Marty is ordered to remain behind bars until Zingo's murder is solved. Marty is in prison for fixing a jury to save an innocent man, and when Russ is released, he arranges for Russ to work with his old law partner, Jack Driscoll. The twenty-four-year-old Russ was convicted of killing a man in a car accident and is eager to make good, but Driscoll assigns him to Richard K. Mallard, a crooked politician who believes in astrology and is the boss of the city graft machine. Okay, who was let out of prison when Mallard paid a woman to pose as Okay's fainting mother, takes Russ with him when he collects money from the businessmen whom Mallard controls. When Russ sees Okay nearly kill a man for refusing to give up his city contract to Mallard, he saves the man, then quits Mallard's service. Marty's daughter Frances then gets Russ a job with her boss, manufacturer Rex Gavin, who is spearheading an anti-parole campaign in an effort to fight the recent crime wave perpetrated by released convicts. Okay then robs a bank in order to pay Mallard's aide, John Borchard, for securing the release of Russ's friend, Bobby Freeman, from prison so Okay will have a scapegoat when he needs one. After Bobby goes to live with Russ, Marty is released from prison, and when Driscoll visits, Russ rails at him for associating ... +


In a state penitentiary on New Year's Eve, gangster "Okay" Percy Smith knifes fellow inmate Zingo Browning, killing him. The next day, convicted lawyers Russell Whalen and Marty Crawford plead their cases before the Parole Board. Russ is released on parole, while Marty is ordered to remain behind bars until Zingo's murder is solved. Marty is in prison for fixing a jury to save an innocent man, and when Russ is released, he arranges for Russ to work with his old law partner, Jack Driscoll. The twenty-four-year-old Russ was convicted of killing a man in a car accident and is eager to make good, but Driscoll assigns him to Richard K. Mallard, a crooked politician who believes in astrology and is the boss of the city graft machine. Okay, who was let out of prison when Mallard paid a woman to pose as Okay's fainting mother, takes Russ with him when he collects money from the businessmen whom Mallard controls. When Russ sees Okay nearly kill a man for refusing to give up his city contract to Mallard, he saves the man, then quits Mallard's service. Marty's daughter Frances then gets Russ a job with her boss, manufacturer Rex Gavin, who is spearheading an anti-parole campaign in an effort to fight the recent crime wave perpetrated by released convicts. Okay then robs a bank in order to pay Mallard's aide, John Borchard, for securing the release of Russ's friend, Bobby Freeman, from prison so Okay will have a scapegoat when he needs one. After Bobby goes to live with Russ, Marty is released from prison, and when Driscoll visits, Russ rails at him for associating with Mallard. Borchard then tells Gavin he has an ex-convict working for him, and Gavin fires not only Russ and Frances, but five other good workers who also happen to be ex-convicts. When Post Courier reporter Gregory interviews Russ about the Gavin Manufacturing Company dismissals, he reveals all he knows about Mallard's operation to paper chief Earl Bigbee. After headlines implicate Mallard, Driscoll offers Russ his apartment as a hiding place. Okay and Dummy Watts, who had also been in the state prison, then force Bobby to lead them to Russ. At Driscoll's apartment, Bobby and Russ struggle to keep out Okay and Dummy, but the thugs get the door open and shoot and kill Bobby. Marty is wounded trying to escape, and Russ is blamed for the shooting and is jailed after revealing Okay and Dummy's hideout to be a barge. At the barge, the police cuff Dummy and Okay, but Okay jumps into the water and is shot at as he swims away. Joyce Daniels, Mallard's secretary who is in love with Russ, then gives Frances the records needed to incriminate Mallard and free Russ. After she is abducted by Borchard and killed, Frances hands over the evidence to Gavin, who organizes the city leaders and the governor to investigate and try Mallard. Mallard is exposed as a grafter, and Russ is exonerated and meets with the authorities to discuss a revitalization of the state parole system. Mallard is indicted, but flees bench warrant by hiding out in the mortuary of A. R. Patton, where Bobby's body is interred. With Borchard, Mallard tries to escape to Rio de Janiero in Bobby's coffin, but Russ arrives with police inspector Hamilton, who shoots Borchard and arrests Mallard. Governor Slade then appoints the chair to a new parole board, which includes a psychiatrist, and Gavin agrees to help prepare criminals for jobs after parole. Slade pardons Marty and Russ, who can now marry Frances, and Mallard gets fifty years in prison. Russ and Marty look forward to a future as "Whalen and Crawford, Attorneys at Law." +

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.