The Girl from Chicago (1932)

Drama | 1932

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HISTORY

According to the onscreen credits, which are preceeded by the line "With a great COLORED CAST as follows," this film was based the short story "Jeff Bollinger's Woman," however, no information has been found as to the author of the story or its publication. The print viewed had numerous abrupt changes in locale and subplot, for which the narrative did not prepare the viewer. Four songs, two sung by Minta Cato, one sung by Frank Wilson and one sung by Grace Smith are heard in the film, although onscreen credits do not identify them. The titles indicate the film was copyrighted by the Micheaux Pictures Corp. of New York City in 1932, although no registration or release date has been found.
       The Girl from Chicago marked the motion picture debut of stage and radio performer Juano Hernandez (1901--1970). Hernandez had minor roles in two additional African-American films, Lying Lips (1939, see below) and The Notorious Elinor Lee (1940, see below), then did not make another film until Intruder in the Dust (1949, see below) in which he had a major, critically praised role. Subsequent to that, Hernandez acted in many films and television programs until shortly before his death. His last screen appearance was the the 1970 release They Call Me MISTER Tibbs (see below).
       Modern sources give the length as 69 minutes, and list additional cast members as "Slick" Chester, Chick Evans, Bud Harris and the Rhythm Rascals. Although they are based on different literary sources, this film and the 1926 Micheaux film The Spider's Web (see below) have ... More Less

According to the onscreen credits, which are preceeded by the line "With a great COLORED CAST as follows," this film was based the short story "Jeff Bollinger's Woman," however, no information has been found as to the author of the story or its publication. The print viewed had numerous abrupt changes in locale and subplot, for which the narrative did not prepare the viewer. Four songs, two sung by Minta Cato, one sung by Frank Wilson and one sung by Grace Smith are heard in the film, although onscreen credits do not identify them. The titles indicate the film was copyrighted by the Micheaux Pictures Corp. of New York City in 1932, although no registration or release date has been found.
       The Girl from Chicago marked the motion picture debut of stage and radio performer Juano Hernandez (1901--1970). Hernandez had minor roles in two additional African-American films, Lying Lips (1939, see below) and The Notorious Elinor Lee (1940, see below), then did not make another film until Intruder in the Dust (1949, see below) in which he had a major, critically praised role. Subsequent to that, Hernandez acted in many films and television programs until shortly before his death. His last screen appearance was the the 1970 release They Call Me MISTER Tibbs (see below).
       Modern sources give the length as 69 minutes, and list additional cast members as "Slick" Chester, Chick Evans, Bud Harris and the Rhythm Rascals. Although they are based on different literary sources, this film and the 1926 Micheaux film The Spider's Web (see below) have similar story lines. More Less

DETAILS
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

While returning from Europe, Alonso White, of the U.S. Secret Service, receives a telegram at sea telling him where to learn of his next assignment. Meanwhile, in "dear old Virginia," Norma Shepard graduates from high school, and Miss Warren arranges a teaching job for her with a friend in Batesburg. Norma finds her way to Mary Austin's boardinghouse, refusing the advances of Jeff Ballinger, the town boss, along the way. Mary is disturbed to find a note from Ballinger in which he expresses interest in Norma and states he will be around to see her. Wade Washington, a kind neighbor, introduces Alonso, who has just arrived at the roominghouse, as a new boarder. When Liza Hatfield, "Ballinger's woman," announces she is leaving, he shoots her. Arriving home an hour later, Washington, Liza's husband, finds her wounded. Although he tells her she deserves what has happened, he still loves her, but she hates him for not preventing her affair with Ballinger. While walking by a lake a few days later, Alonso and Norma realize they are in love, though he still remains reticent about discussing his job. Liza writes Washington a note announcing she is leaving him and Batesburg. Alonso finally reveals to Norma that he has been sent to investigate Ballinger. When Ballinger arrives to see Norma, a confederate at a window tries to warn him of Alonso's presence, but instead Ballinger shoots the confederate. Alonso takes the handcuffed Ballinger to jail and upon returning, learns that Mary has departed for New York to be with her sister, leaving Norma alone. Alonso proposes marriage to Norma, and after she accepts, ... +


While returning from Europe, Alonso White, of the U.S. Secret Service, receives a telegram at sea telling him where to learn of his next assignment. Meanwhile, in "dear old Virginia," Norma Shepard graduates from high school, and Miss Warren arranges a teaching job for her with a friend in Batesburg. Norma finds her way to Mary Austin's boardinghouse, refusing the advances of Jeff Ballinger, the town boss, along the way. Mary is disturbed to find a note from Ballinger in which he expresses interest in Norma and states he will be around to see her. Wade Washington, a kind neighbor, introduces Alonso, who has just arrived at the roominghouse, as a new boarder. When Liza Hatfield, "Ballinger's woman," announces she is leaving, he shoots her. Arriving home an hour later, Washington, Liza's husband, finds her wounded. Although he tells her she deserves what has happened, he still loves her, but she hates him for not preventing her affair with Ballinger. While walking by a lake a few days later, Alonso and Norma realize they are in love, though he still remains reticent about discussing his job. Liza writes Washington a note announcing she is leaving him and Batesburg. Alonso finally reveals to Norma that he has been sent to investigate Ballinger. When Ballinger arrives to see Norma, a confederate at a window tries to warn him of Alonso's presence, but instead Ballinger shoots the confederate. Alonso takes the handcuffed Ballinger to jail and upon returning, learns that Mary has departed for New York to be with her sister, leaving Norma alone. Alonso proposes marriage to Norma, and after she accepts, they leave for Harlem. At the Radium Club, Norma recognizes Liza as an exotic singer. Liza is now married to Gomez, a Cuban who is head of the numbers racket. Mary has been spending all her money betting on the numbers and hating herself for it, because she needs $500 to pay for an operation for her sister. She places a large bet and wins, causing Gomez to flee. However, Liza catches and shoots Gomez, taking the money from him that belonged to her. Minutes later, Mary arrives to collect her winnings and, discovering Gomez's body, takes the $11,000 he owed her and leaves. Mary is prosecuted for the murder and sentenced to death, although Alonso still believes her innocent. On board a ship, Alonso locates Liza and, by seducing her, obtains a confession from her. With the case brought to a successful conclusion, Mary returns to Batesburg and the newly wed Whites take a honeymoon in Bermuda. +

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.