The Important Witness (1933)

63-64 mins | Drama | 15 July 1933

Director:

Sam Newfield

Producer:

Sigmund Neufeld

Cinematographer:

Harry Forbes

Editor:

Al Clark

Production Designer:

Ralph M. DeLacy

Production Company:

Tower Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Some scenes in this film were shot on location in ... More Less

Some scenes in this film were shot on location in Hollywood. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
6 Sep 33
p. 11.
Harrison's Reports
12 Aug 33
p. 126.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Oct 33
p. 43.
Variety
26 Sep 33
p. 20.
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 July 1933
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63-64
Length(in feet):
5,634
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Ellen Kelly, single and twenty-two, has been living in Los Angeles for six months since her father, a country doctor in Oklahoma, died and has been working as a public stenographer in the lobby of a hotel. One day, after she takes a letter from a salesman who unsuccessfully tries to interest her in a date, gangster Gus Miranda and his cohort Tony come looking for Jack "Duke" Farnham, whose girl friend Ruth Dana, Ellen's old roommate, runs the candy counter next to Ellen's desk. While Gus and Tony wait, Steve Connors, a conceited but vulnerable driver of a night bus to San Francisco, flirts with Ellen, and when he invites her on a trip for free, she turns him down but confuses him by saying that she is afraid to go because she would love to. After Gus threatens Farnham and Farnham call his bluff, Gus and Tony leave disgruntled. When Farnham then eyes Ellen with desire, Ruth, violently jealous and apparently pregnant, threatens to kill him if he double-crosses her, a threat overheard by the hotel detective. As Ellen ends her work day, Farnham asks her to come to his suite for some important work and offers to pay overtime. In the suite, Farnham offers Ellen a good-paying job and then a drink, both of which she refuses. As he goes to get her a ginger ale, Ruth who has seen them go up together, gets a passkey from the bellhop. As Farnham pours liquor into the ginger ale, he spies Gus and Tony at a window, and they shoot him as he goes for his gun. Tony grabs ... +


Ellen Kelly, single and twenty-two, has been living in Los Angeles for six months since her father, a country doctor in Oklahoma, died and has been working as a public stenographer in the lobby of a hotel. One day, after she takes a letter from a salesman who unsuccessfully tries to interest her in a date, gangster Gus Miranda and his cohort Tony come looking for Jack "Duke" Farnham, whose girl friend Ruth Dana, Ellen's old roommate, runs the candy counter next to Ellen's desk. While Gus and Tony wait, Steve Connors, a conceited but vulnerable driver of a night bus to San Francisco, flirts with Ellen, and when he invites her on a trip for free, she turns him down but confuses him by saying that she is afraid to go because she would love to. After Gus threatens Farnham and Farnham call his bluff, Gus and Tony leave disgruntled. When Farnham then eyes Ellen with desire, Ruth, violently jealous and apparently pregnant, threatens to kill him if he double-crosses her, a threat overheard by the hotel detective. As Ellen ends her work day, Farnham asks her to come to his suite for some important work and offers to pay overtime. In the suite, Farnham offers Ellen a good-paying job and then a drink, both of which she refuses. As he goes to get her a ginger ale, Ruth who has seen them go up together, gets a passkey from the bellhop. As Farnham pours liquor into the ginger ale, he spies Gus and Tony at a window, and they shoot him as he goes for his gun. Tony grabs Ellen and takes her out the window just as Farnham shoots, before dying. Ruth, hearing the shot, enters and picks up the gun. The detective then arrives, and Ruth is arrested for murder. Aware that Gus and Tony plan to kill her, Ellen acts tough and, implying that she had agreed to become Farnham's mistress, awakens Gus's sexual interest. Against Tony's warning, he agrees to Ellen's suggestion that they get out of town for awhile after they see in the newspaper that Ruth is being held for the murder. Ellen convinces Gus to allow her to go to work the next morning, so that her disappearance will not seem connected to the killing, and Gus assigns a tough named Joe to watch her while she works. The next day, Steve visits and, flirting again, asks her to take a letter. While Steve dictates a letter to his mother telling her he met the "swellest" girl, Ellen actually types "please save me, a gunman is covering me" and that she knows who killed Farnham. When Steve is interrupted in the middle, Joe grabs the letter, but Ellen faints before he reads it and Joe takes her out. At the hideout in the country, Joe laughs as Ellen tries to communicate with the housekeeper before revealing that she is deaf and dumb. As Joe reads the letter, a noise from another room diverts his attention and Ellen grabs his gun. They struggle, Joe is shot and Ellen escapes in Joe's car just before Gus returns. After Joe relates what happened, Gus, Tony and Red, another member of their gang, follow Ellen. She pulls up alongside a bus and, seeing Steve, asks if he will drive her to Los Angeles, but the gang see her get on and arrive first at Bannerville, a stopping point, where another driver is to take over. Gus and Tony board the bus, while Red drives. After Ellen tells Steve her story, he proposes. After Gus and Tony succeed in pushing the porter and conductor out of the bus, they capture Steve and Ellen, while Red drives the bus into a barn. However, a good-natured drunk, who earlier had bothered nearly all the passengers, hits Tony over the head with his gin bottle, and they then capture Red and Gus. As Steve and the drunk hold Gus and Red, Ellen drives the bus through the side of the barn. The next day, as Ellen, locked in the cab, drives through the hills, the drunk, tired and woozy, falls on Steve allowing Gus to slug him and capture the guns. However, a large number of motorcycle officers pull up along side the bus and the gang is captured. Ruth, released and now with the drunk, waves goodbye to Ellen and Steve. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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