Hush Money (1931)

68-69 mins | Drama | 5 July 1931

Director:

Sidney Lanfield

Cinematographer:

John F. Seitz

Editor:

Irene Morra

Production Designer:

William Darling

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Romance of the Underworld . According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, Fox made two minor changes in the film after it was shot and previewed for the Hays Office in accordance with their wishes. Var noted that two of the writers were New York newspapermen; Courtenay Terrett worked for the New York Telegram and Dudley Nichols for the old New York World . Although reviews and the Fox trade advertising billing sheets list the main character as "Janet" Gordon, she is called "Joan" throughout the dialogue of the film. On 12 Nov 1936, the PCA issued a certificate for this film's ... More Less

The working title of this film was Romance of the Underworld . According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, Fox made two minor changes in the film after it was shot and previewed for the Hays Office in accordance with their wishes. Var noted that two of the writers were New York newspapermen; Courtenay Terrett worked for the New York Telegram and Dudley Nichols for the old New York World . Although reviews and the Fox trade advertising billing sheets list the main character as "Janet" Gordon, she is called "Joan" throughout the dialogue of the film. On 12 Nov 1936, the PCA issued a certificate for this film's re-issue. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
12 Jul 31
p. 10.
HF
18 Apr 31
p. 24.
HF
9 May 31
p. 24.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Jun 31
p. 34.
New York Times
11 Jul 31
p. 7.
Variety
14 Jul 31
p. 17.
Variety
19 Jul 31
p. 3.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Romance of the Underworld
Release Date:
5 July 1931
Production Date:
mid April--mid May 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 June 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2298
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68-69
Length(in feet):
6,100
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

After Joan Gordon, posing as the wife of her lover, Steve Pelton, helps him lure a family of unsuspecting tourists, the Stocktons, to be robbed in Central Park, Mr. Stockton is shot and killed by one of his assailants. When Pelton tells Jack Curtis, the head of the gang, that he plans to leave for Montreal with Joan, Curtis' wife Flo, with whom Pelton is also involved, is dismayed. However, after Joan refuses to accompany Pelton, they are apprehended by police captain Dan Emmett. To get a reduced sentence, Pelton signs a confession implicating Curtis. Joan, after suffering through a third-degree interrogation, is convicted because of Pelton's confession and sent to prison for a year. During her term, Joan, who got involved with Pelton because she was broke and in need of help, comes to understand that she had to pay for peace of mind after making her mistake. Emmett, now an inspector, meets Joan upon her release and offers his assistance if she ever needs it. Joan gets a job in a department store and studies interior decorating at night. Later, she has a good job as a decorator and is courted by Stuart Elliott, a wealthy man whose house she decorated. When Stuart proposes, Joan goes to Emmett for advice, and he tells her to marry him, but not to reveal her past. They marry and have a child, Stuart, Jr., and on the day before their third anniversary, Stuart gives Joan a stunning necklace, which he wants her to wear to dinner the next evening. The next day, Pelton, who is out of prison and living with Flo, visits Joan and ... +


After Joan Gordon, posing as the wife of her lover, Steve Pelton, helps him lure a family of unsuspecting tourists, the Stocktons, to be robbed in Central Park, Mr. Stockton is shot and killed by one of his assailants. When Pelton tells Jack Curtis, the head of the gang, that he plans to leave for Montreal with Joan, Curtis' wife Flo, with whom Pelton is also involved, is dismayed. However, after Joan refuses to accompany Pelton, they are apprehended by police captain Dan Emmett. To get a reduced sentence, Pelton signs a confession implicating Curtis. Joan, after suffering through a third-degree interrogation, is convicted because of Pelton's confession and sent to prison for a year. During her term, Joan, who got involved with Pelton because she was broke and in need of help, comes to understand that she had to pay for peace of mind after making her mistake. Emmett, now an inspector, meets Joan upon her release and offers his assistance if she ever needs it. Joan gets a job in a department store and studies interior decorating at night. Later, she has a good job as a decorator and is courted by Stuart Elliott, a wealthy man whose house she decorated. When Stuart proposes, Joan goes to Emmett for advice, and he tells her to marry him, but not to reveal her past. They marry and have a child, Stuart, Jr., and on the day before their third anniversary, Stuart gives Joan a stunning necklace, which he wants her to wear to dinner the next evening. The next day, Pelton, who is out of prison and living with Flo, visits Joan and after demanding that Joan pay her $5,000 by that evening, takes the necklace as collateral. Joan tells Emmett, who feels responsible, and he vows to help her get out of the jam. He goes to the barber shop where Curtis, recently paroled, is having a massage. After inferring that Pelton's confession implicated Curtis, Emmett gives him Pelton's address. Emmett then plays checkers with the county coroner as Curtis visits Pelton and shoots him. Meanwhile, Stuart, while dressing for dinner, worries Joan as he tells her about a married couple who recently split up because the wife made the mistake of telling her husband things he didn't want to know. After the coroner gets the call about Pelton, Emmett retrieves the necklace and surreptitiously returns it to Joan, without arousing Stuart's suspicions. +

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.