The Witness Vanishes (1939)

66 mins | Mystery | 22 September 1939

Director:

Otis Garrett

Writer:

Robertson White

Producer:

Irving Starr

Cinematographer:

Arthur Martinelli

Editor:

Harry Keller

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Crime Club Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this picture were They Can't Hang Me , Eyes of Scotland Yard and Escape to London . This was the last picture in the "Crime Club" mystery series, produced by Crime Club Productions, Inc. and released by Universal. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and See Entry for The Westland Case ... More Less

The working titles of this picture were They Can't Hang Me , Eyes of Scotland Yard and Escape to London . This was the last picture in the "Crime Club" mystery series, produced by Crime Club Productions, Inc. and released by Universal. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and See Entry for The Westland Case . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
27 Oct 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 39
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
28 Oct 39
p. 47.
New York Times
23 Oct 39
p. 15.
Variety
25 Oct 39
p. 11.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Escape to London
Eyes of Scotland Yard
They Can't Hang Me
Release Date:
22 September 1939
Production Date:
27 June--8 July 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
8 September 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9105
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5560
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Joan Marplay journeys to London in search of her missing father, Lucius Marplay, the former owner of the Sun newspaper. Joan locates Lucius in an insane asylum where he was confined unjustly years earlier by his four partners who stole his newspaper from him. Through a ruse, Lucius escapes his captors after threatening to murder one by one the four men responsible for stealing his paper. In the office of the Sun , three of the men, Ellis, Partridge and Craven, tremble in fear for their lives while the fourth, Mark Peters, refuses to be intimidated and declares that he will continue to publish the paper. With the help of newspaper columnist Lord Noel Stretton, Joan gets a job as Craven's secretary, hoping to learn the truth about her father. Soon after, Ellis' obituary mysteriously appears in the paper, and when his associates rush to his office, they find him dead. With Ellis' death, Scotland Yard and a reporter named Allistar MacNab enter the case. Partridge is next on Lucius's list to die, and although a police officer guards the door to his office, Partridge falls dead to the floor. After Partridge's death, Joan tricks Craven, now hysterical with fear, into confessing into a dictaphone the plot against her father, but before she can secure the dictograph record, a shadowy figure breaks in, steals the record and kills Craven. Later, Flinters, an informant, invites all of the persons involved in the case to an auction for the record, but when they arrive, they find Flinters stabbed to death and the record demolished. Peters, the last of Lucius' ... +


Joan Marplay journeys to London in search of her missing father, Lucius Marplay, the former owner of the Sun newspaper. Joan locates Lucius in an insane asylum where he was confined unjustly years earlier by his four partners who stole his newspaper from him. Through a ruse, Lucius escapes his captors after threatening to murder one by one the four men responsible for stealing his paper. In the office of the Sun , three of the men, Ellis, Partridge and Craven, tremble in fear for their lives while the fourth, Mark Peters, refuses to be intimidated and declares that he will continue to publish the paper. With the help of newspaper columnist Lord Noel Stretton, Joan gets a job as Craven's secretary, hoping to learn the truth about her father. Soon after, Ellis' obituary mysteriously appears in the paper, and when his associates rush to his office, they find him dead. With Ellis' death, Scotland Yard and a reporter named Allistar MacNab enter the case. Partridge is next on Lucius's list to die, and although a police officer guards the door to his office, Partridge falls dead to the floor. After Partridge's death, Joan tricks Craven, now hysterical with fear, into confessing into a dictaphone the plot against her father, but before she can secure the dictograph record, a shadowy figure breaks in, steals the record and kills Craven. Later, Flinters, an informant, invites all of the persons involved in the case to an auction for the record, but when they arrive, they find Flinters stabbed to death and the record demolished. Peters, the last of Lucius' enemies, then receives a death note informing him that he will die that night. As Peters awaits his fate, a wan and haggard Lucius stumbles down the steps and Peters raises his gun to fire. At that instant, the detectives arrive and disclose that they had been holding Lucius in custody and therefore he could not have committed the murders. MacNab then forces Peters into revealing that he is the murderer. After confessing, Peters commits suicide by smoking a poisoned cigarette. +

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

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