Fast Company (1938)

74-75 mins | Comedy-drama | 8 July 1938

Director:

Edward Buzzell

Producer:

Frederick Stephani

Cinematographer:

Clyde De Vinna

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Television prints of this film sometimes bear the title The Rare Book Murder. Marco Page, whose real name was Harry Kurnitz, became a staff writer at M-G-M after completing this, his debut picture, and wrote two additional films featuring the characters Joel and Garda Sloane, Fast and Loose, directed by Edwin L. Marin, starring Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell, and Fast and Furious, directed by Busby Berkeley, starring Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern. Both of the sequels were released in 1939 (see entry entries). Throughout his career, his novels, plays and films were alternatively written under the names Page and Kurnitz. A pre-production HR news item noted that Claire Dodd was borrowed from RKO for the film. According to modern sources, exhibitors were unhappy at the long intervals between pictures in The Thin Man series, so M-G-M made Fast Company because its "light" detective theme featured main characters in the Nick and Nora Charles mode. According to a 26 Sep 1938 news item in HR, because of his success in the Joel Sloane role, Douglas was seriously considered as a replacement for William Powell as Nick Charles while Powell was recuperating from surgery. Powell did complete the series, however. ...

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Television prints of this film sometimes bear the title The Rare Book Murder. Marco Page, whose real name was Harry Kurnitz, became a staff writer at M-G-M after completing this, his debut picture, and wrote two additional films featuring the characters Joel and Garda Sloane, Fast and Loose, directed by Edwin L. Marin, starring Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell, and Fast and Furious, directed by Busby Berkeley, starring Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern. Both of the sequels were released in 1939 (see entry entries). Throughout his career, his novels, plays and films were alternatively written under the names Page and Kurnitz. A pre-production HR news item noted that Claire Dodd was borrowed from RKO for the film. According to modern sources, exhibitors were unhappy at the long intervals between pictures in The Thin Man series, so M-G-M made Fast Company because its "light" detective theme featured main characters in the Nick and Nora Charles mode. According to a 26 Sep 1938 news item in HR, because of his success in the Joel Sloane role, Douglas was seriously considered as a replacement for William Powell as Nick Charles while Powell was recuperating from surgery. Powell did complete the series, however.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1938
p. 3
Film Daily
30 Jun 1938
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1938
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 1938
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 1938
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 1938
p. 2
Motion Picture Daily
8 Jul 1938
p. 6
Motion Picture Herald
25 Jun 1938
p. 35
Motion Picture Herald
2 Jul 1938
p. 40, 42
New York Times
6 Jul 1938
p. 21
Variety
29 Jun 1938
p. 12
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Marco Page
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Clyde DeVinna
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Fredrick Y. Smith
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Fast Company by Marco Page (New York, 1938).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 July 1938
Production Date:
Late May--5 Jun 1938
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Loew's Inc.
1 July 1938
LP8180
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74-75
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4386
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Joel Sloane, a New York City rare book dealer, cannot make a living selling first editions. He picks up extra money from insurance company rewards, however, by recovering missing rare books, much to the relief of his secretary Garda, who is also his wife. When one of their friends, Ned Morgan, is released from prison after serving time for stealing books from Joel's competitor, Otto Brockler, Garda wants Joel to give Ned a job because she knows he is innocent. Ned, who is in love with Brockler's daughter Leah, meanwhile confronts Brockler and accuses him of stealing the books himself. After Ned leaves Brockler, Eli Bannerman and Sidney Z. Wheeler arrive, Brockler's secret partners, who work with him to steal the books then collect the insurance. The next day, Leah goes to Garda and tells her that she is worred about Ned, who is embittered toward her father. That night, insurance company representative Steve Langer and police Lt. James Flanner inform Joel that Brockler has been murdered and Ned is the prime suspect. Neither Leah or Garda believe that Ned is guilty and Garda tells Joel that she has noticed Brockler's secretary wearing expensive jewelry and furs. Joel then invites Julia to lunch, says that he needs a partner and suggests that she could help him "find" some of the rare books that have been stolen recently. Julia is interested in Joel's proposition and they agree to meet in her apartment at nine. He then runs into Ned on the street and suggests that they meet at midnight. When Joel goes to Julia's, she says that Brockler kept a ...

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Joel Sloane, a New York City rare book dealer, cannot make a living selling first editions. He picks up extra money from insurance company rewards, however, by recovering missing rare books, much to the relief of his secretary Garda, who is also his wife. When one of their friends, Ned Morgan, is released from prison after serving time for stealing books from Joel's competitor, Otto Brockler, Garda wants Joel to give Ned a job because she knows he is innocent. Ned, who is in love with Brockler's daughter Leah, meanwhile confronts Brockler and accuses him of stealing the books himself. After Ned leaves Brockler, Eli Bannerman and Sidney Z. Wheeler arrive, Brockler's secret partners, who work with him to steal the books then collect the insurance. The next day, Leah goes to Garda and tells her that she is worred about Ned, who is embittered toward her father. That night, insurance company representative Steve Langer and police Lt. James Flanner inform Joel that Brockler has been murdered and Ned is the prime suspect. Neither Leah or Garda believe that Ned is guilty and Garda tells Joel that she has noticed Brockler's secretary wearing expensive jewelry and furs. Joel then invites Julia to lunch, says that he needs a partner and suggests that she could help him "find" some of the rare books that have been stolen recently. Julia is interested in Joel's proposition and they agree to meet in her apartment at nine. He then runs into Ned on the street and suggests that they meet at midnight. When Joel goes to Julia's, she says that Brockler kept a secret room containing his "stolen" books. Joel then calls the police to tell them about the room and learns that Ned has been arrested. Though Ned's attorney, Arnold Stamper, makes Ned tell the police that Joel had given him money to leave town, Stamper tells Joel that it was really Julia who had offered Ned money to leave. Meanwhile, Bannerman goes to Wheeler and tells him that the police suspect him of murder. They then call Joel and, pretending to be from the district attorney's office, ask him to come down. When Joel arrives, they shoot at him and think that he is dead. Bannerman then kills Wheeler. Soon Julia goes to Bannerman and tells him that Joel is alive. The two threaten each other but Julia stops the argument by saying that she has papers on their arrangement that could prove that he killed Brockler. Bannerman then hires thug Danny Scolado to kill Joel. When Joel, whose flesh wound on the posterior requires his use of a rubber doughnut to sit upon, goes to Julia's apartment, her papers are strewn on the floor. Then, while she is in the bedroom, Joel looks at a photograph of her and Bannerman, unaware that Bannerman is secretly hiding in the bedroom with a gun. Bannerman demands money and the papers from Julia, but she refuses and he knocks her out, then runs away. Joel calls the police to arrest him, then searches his office with Langer. On the way back to Langer's office, the cab driver is Scolado who drives Joel to a hideout. Soon Bannerman arrives, holding Garda at gunpoint. While Joel gets the better of his captor, Garda kicks out the light plug, causing chaos. The police soon arrive, but Bannerman has escaped. Joel then goes's to Julia, who finally confesses, gives him a list of stolen books and says that Bannerman killed Brockler. Joel then tells her that he is convinced that she killed Brockler. She throws a knife at him, but misses just as Bannerman arrives. Joel then overpowers Bannerman as Lt. Flanner arrives to arrest Julia and Bannerman. Finally, Garda grabs Joel and, after handcuffing him, says "Let me be your doughnut."

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

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