Time Out for Murder (1938)

60 mins | Drama | 23 September 1938

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Meridian 7-1212 . This was the first in Twentieth Century-Fox's "Roving Reporter" series. The other two films of the series, While New York Sleeps (see below) and Inside Story (see above), were both released in 1939 and feature Michael Whalen and Chick ... More Less

The working title of this film was Meridian 7-1212 . This was the first in Twentieth Century-Fox's "Roving Reporter" series. The other two films of the series, While New York Sleeps (see below) and Inside Story (see above), were both released in 1939 and feature Michael Whalen and Chick Chandler. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2-Jul-38
---
Daily Variety
25 Jun 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Oct 38
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 38
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
1 Jul 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
8 Aug 38
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
2 Jul 38
p. 42.
New York Times
7 Oct 38
p. 21.
Variety
7 Sep 38
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Meridian 7-1212
Release Date:
23 September 1938
Production Date:
16 May--early June 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 September 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8561
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
60
Length(in feet):
5,367
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Johnny Martin, a messenger for his uncle Phillip Gregory's bank, visits his fiancée, Helen Thomas, who announces the time for telephone callers. Johnny then delivers a bank statement to Peggy Norton, who lives in a fancy New York apartment, and sees racketeer Dutch Moran leave the apartment. Johnny helps Peggy open a locked desk drawer with his knife, which breaks. She then gives him a case of jewels from the drawer, and after she takes out a diamond brooch, asks him to take the case to the bank for her because she is going on a trip. Shortly after this, a man calls the hotel operator from Peggy's apartment and asks for the correct time. The operator says that is 1:40, and the man argues that it is two o'clock and then asks for an outside line so he can call for the correct time. The operator hears the time announced as two o'clock and then hears a gunshot through the receiver. Peggy is found murdered, and Johnny is arrested because he has her jewels, and his fingerprints and broken knife are found in the apartment. Meanwhile, bill collector Margie Ross tries to collect fifteen dollars from reporter Barney Callahan. Barney's roommate Snapper, a photographer who calls for the time every few minutes because he has fallen in love with Helen's voice, hears Helen crying over the telephone, and Barney, aware of the murder, decides to investigate. To make sure that she gets the fifteen dollars, Margie accompanies him. Barney suspects that Johnny is guilty, but Margie locates records from a credit association, which indicate that Dutch paid one of ... +


Johnny Martin, a messenger for his uncle Phillip Gregory's bank, visits his fiancée, Helen Thomas, who announces the time for telephone callers. Johnny then delivers a bank statement to Peggy Norton, who lives in a fancy New York apartment, and sees racketeer Dutch Moran leave the apartment. Johnny helps Peggy open a locked desk drawer with his knife, which breaks. She then gives him a case of jewels from the drawer, and after she takes out a diamond brooch, asks him to take the case to the bank for her because she is going on a trip. Shortly after this, a man calls the hotel operator from Peggy's apartment and asks for the correct time. The operator says that is 1:40, and the man argues that it is two o'clock and then asks for an outside line so he can call for the correct time. The operator hears the time announced as two o'clock and then hears a gunshot through the receiver. Peggy is found murdered, and Johnny is arrested because he has her jewels, and his fingerprints and broken knife are found in the apartment. Meanwhile, bill collector Margie Ross tries to collect fifteen dollars from reporter Barney Callahan. Barney's roommate Snapper, a photographer who calls for the time every few minutes because he has fallen in love with Helen's voice, hears Helen crying over the telephone, and Barney, aware of the murder, decides to investigate. To make sure that she gets the fifteen dollars, Margie accompanies him. Barney suspects that Johnny is guilty, but Margie locates records from a credit association, which indicate that Dutch paid one of Peggy's bills. Because Dutch is his friend, Barney does not go to the police with this information. After Barney, Margie and Snapper find a recording needle in Peggy's apartment and evidence that Dutch had been there, Margie goes to Dutch's club posing as an applicant for a job. She is recognized as Barney's associate, however, and Dutch takes her to Barney's apartment, where two of Dutch's men, Eddie and Blackie, are holding Barney and Snapper. Dutch reprimands his men and admits to Barney that he was a friend of Peggy's, but says he suspects that her murderer was Gregory, who gave her money and with whom she had a row. Dutch brings Gregory to his lakeside hideout, where Blackie and Barney have gone to meet him. Meanwhile, Margie returns to Dutch's club and then hides in Dutch's car when she learns that he is going to meet Barney. Instead, Eddie, planning to break with Dutch, and another gangster, use the car to hold up an armored truck. After crashing through a roadblock, they are pursued by police, who shoot the other gangster. When their car crashes, Eddie takes Margie to the hideout, thinking that it is empty. Meanwhile, Gregory has confessed to Barney, Snapper and Dutch that he planned to kill Peggy and implicate Johnny, but that after he called the hotel's switchboard operator and played the record announcing the time as two o'clock, he heard a shot and saw another man leave. He recognizes Eddie as the man he saw and notices Peggy's brooch on Eddie's person. Eddie shoots Dutch and escapes, but Dutch, from a window, shoots Eddie. Barney learns from Eddie before he dies that he was Peggy's ex-husband and was blackmailing her; she refused to give him her jewelry, so he killed her. After Barney learns that Dutch will recover, Margie tries to deliver a writ of repossession for Barney and Snapper's furniture. When Barney says he that could learn to pay his bills and asks could she go for him, she says to call if he ever does learn, and they kiss. +

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.