Panama Patrol (1939)

67 mins | Drama | 20 May 1939

Director:

Charles Lamont

Writer:

Arthur Hoerl

Cinematographer:

Arthur Martinelli

Editor:

Bernard Loftus

Production Designer:

Ralph Berger

Production Company:

Fine Arts Pictures
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Curio Cipher and Panama Cipher . A news item in HR notes that this was the first Fine Arts picture to go into production since the company's affiliation with Grand National. According to another news item in HR , Fine Arts originally wanted Anna May Wong to play the role of Lia Maing. This picture was a sequel to 1938's Cipher Bureau (see ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Curio Cipher and Panama Cipher . A news item in HR notes that this was the first Fine Arts picture to go into production since the company's affiliation with Grand National. According to another news item in HR , Fine Arts originally wanted Anna May Wong to play the role of Lia Maing. This picture was a sequel to 1938's Cipher Bureau (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
24 Feb 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
27 Feb 39
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Feb 39
p. 44.
Variety
16 Aug 39
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Arthur Hoerl and Monroe Shaff.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Panama Cipher
Curio Cipher
Release Date:
20 May 1939
Production Date:
12--24 January 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Fine Arts Pictures
Copyright Date:
20 May 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8860
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67
Length(in feet):
6,174
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5097
SYNOPSIS

Major Phillip Waring, the head of the Cipher Bureau in Washington, D. C., is called away on the day of his wedding to secretary Helen Lane by an urgent request to decipher a diplomatic message intercepted from an international spy ring. Waring and his assistant, Lieutenant Murdock, track down one of the spies, but he is shot before they are able to question him. With the spy's death, their only clue is a letter written in Chinese, which they give to Bureau interpreter Artie Johnson to decipher. Unknown to Waring, Johnson is the clandestine leader of the spy ring, and the interpreter gives Waring information that leads him into a trap at the Maing curio shop. When Waring fails to return from his mission, Murdock goes to the shop and rescues him. While at the shop, Waring discovers another letter, and when asked to interpret it, Johnson cleverly changes one of the letters in the code by means of a blotter. Johnson's information sends Waring and Murdock to California on a wild goose chase. In their absence, however, Helen finds Johnson's blotter and realizes that he is involved in the spy ring. While confronting Johnson at his house, Helen is taken captive by the ring. Meanwhile, Waring realizes that his mission is a frame-up, and returns to Washington to discover Helen's peril. Arriving at Johnson's house just after the spies have left with Helen, Waring discovers the final part of the code, which reveals the spies's plan to impede traffic traveling through the Panama Canal. The cipher also discloses the location of the spies's headquarters, and Waring and Murdock arrive just in time ... +


Major Phillip Waring, the head of the Cipher Bureau in Washington, D. C., is called away on the day of his wedding to secretary Helen Lane by an urgent request to decipher a diplomatic message intercepted from an international spy ring. Waring and his assistant, Lieutenant Murdock, track down one of the spies, but he is shot before they are able to question him. With the spy's death, their only clue is a letter written in Chinese, which they give to Bureau interpreter Artie Johnson to decipher. Unknown to Waring, Johnson is the clandestine leader of the spy ring, and the interpreter gives Waring information that leads him into a trap at the Maing curio shop. When Waring fails to return from his mission, Murdock goes to the shop and rescues him. While at the shop, Waring discovers another letter, and when asked to interpret it, Johnson cleverly changes one of the letters in the code by means of a blotter. Johnson's information sends Waring and Murdock to California on a wild goose chase. In their absence, however, Helen finds Johnson's blotter and realizes that he is involved in the spy ring. While confronting Johnson at his house, Helen is taken captive by the ring. Meanwhile, Waring realizes that his mission is a frame-up, and returns to Washington to discover Helen's peril. Arriving at Johnson's house just after the spies have left with Helen, Waring discovers the final part of the code, which reveals the spies's plan to impede traffic traveling through the Panama Canal. The cipher also discloses the location of the spies's headquarters, and Waring and Murdock arrive just in time to rescue Helen and smash the spy ring. +

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.