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Midnight Court (1937)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 6 March 1937 (USA)
Victor Shanley had once been New York City's most-acclaimed crime-fighting, crusading District Attorney and the scourge of the underworld. But the workaholic demands of the job led him to ... See full summary »

Director:

Frank McDonald

Writers:

Don Ryan (original and screen play), Kenneth Gamet (original and screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ann Dvorak ... Carol O'Neill
John Litel ... Victor Shanley
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Bob Terrill
Joseph Crehan ... Judge Frederick J. Thompson
William B. Davidson ... Alfred H. Kruger (as William Davidson)
Stanley Fields ... 'Slim' Jacobs
Walter Miller ... Police Lt. Jerry Burke
John Sheehan ... 'Clouter' Hoag
Bill Elliott ... City Attorney Seabrook (as Gordon Elliott)
Gordon Hart Gordon Hart ... Superior Court Judge
Harrison Greene Harrison Greene ... Bailiff Turner (as Harrison Green)
Charley Foy ... Dutch (as Charles Foy)
Eddie Foster Eddie Foster ... Louie Rennick
Lyle Moraine Lyle Moraine ... Harry Jills
George Offerman Jr. ... Adolph Nodle
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Storyline

Victor Shanley had once been New York City's most-acclaimed crime-fighting, crusading District Attorney and the scourge of the underworld. But the workaholic demands of the job led him to drinking and alcoholism. Dismissed from office in disgrace and divorced by his wife, Carol, Shanley soon found himself a gutter-drunk. But when hired by gangster Al Kruger, racketeer in charge of a hot-car ring, Shanley is soon back on top and made rich in the process, and relishing the revenge he had taken on the law-and-order faction he bitterly thought had done him an injustice. Shanley befriends a young engineer, Bob Terrell, who had inadvertently gotten mixed up with Kruger's mob, and gets Bob a job with an aircraft-factory in Tennessee. But Kruger, fearful that Bob might have knowledge that will incriminate him, has his henchman "Slim" Jacobs murder the young man. Shanley vows to get revenge on Kruger. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A DOWN-and-OUT LAWYER, by DEFENDING A RACKETEER and HIS MOB, MAKES A COME-BACK TO FAME

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Justice After Dark See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Let's Put Our Heads Together
(uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Played at Victor Shanley's party
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User Reviews

 
Fast-paced crime drama is entertaining but predictable
15 November 2019 | by csteidlerSee all my reviews

One-time district attorney John Litel has fallen on hard times. He's down and out, drinking in a dive bar. The cops raid the joint and take everybody to night court. Charged with drunkenness, Litel makes a passionate speech to the judge about how wrong he was to try and protect a thankless public when he was the DA. Suddenly court clerk Ann Dvorak calls out his name. He passes out on the courtroom floor.

It's not too believable but John Litel and Ann Dvorak give sincere performances in this modest crime melodrama.

We soon learn that Litel and Dvorak were formerly married, before he got all broken down and bitter. Having taken him to her apartment for breakfast, Dvorak challenges Litel to pull himself together...at which point he announces that he has decided to go to work for a local mob boss and become "the greatest criminal attorney this town has ever known."

Litel succeeds in starting up a new career getting crooks acquitted. The bad guys love him, including boss William B. Davidson. Their car stealing racket is going great. Litel is certainly getting rich...but Dvorak holds out hope for his redemption. What will it take to turn him back around?

Plenty of dramatics but not a lot of careful character development in this standard fast-moving B picture.


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