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Missing Witnesses (1937)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 11 December 1937 (USA)
The daring of the racketeers, all working for one organization, in an east coast city leads the Governor to create a new undercover law agency formed to combat the gangsters, and to find ... See full summary »


William Clemens


Kenneth Gamet (original screenplay), Don Ryan (original screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
John Litel ... Inspector Robedrt L. Lane
Dick Purcell ... 'Bull' Regan
Virginia Dale ... Mary Norton (as Jean Dale)
Sheila Bromley ... Gladys Wagner
Ben Welden ... Frank Wagner
William Haade ... Emmet White
Raymond Hatton ... 'Little Joe' Macey
Harland Tucker Harland Tucker ... Ward Sturgis
Jack Mower ... Detective Butler
John Harron ... Harris (as Jack Harron)
Michael Mark Michael Mark ... Hartman
Earl Gunn Earl Gunn ... Chivvy Predo
Louis Natheaux ... Heinie Dodds


The daring of the racketeers, all working for one organization, in an east coast city leads the Governor to create a new undercover law agency formed to combat the gangsters, and to find witnesses against them. Heading the agency is the Special Prosecutor's aide, Inspector Lane, and his assistants, Emmet White and Bull Regan. Mary Norton, who Bull has fallen in love with, is the secretary for one of the legitimate enterprises ran by Ward Sturgis, the head of the crime ring. Mary had accidentally learned of this, and had just managed to escape with her life from his yacht. Sturgis is found dead floating in the bay with several bullet holes in his body. Mary is the lead suspect and Bull is assigned the job of finding and arresting her, but she gives him the slip. When he does catch up with her again, it is to rescue her from the very-much alive Ward Sturgis, who had faked his death by having a look-alike killed. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Release Date:

11 December 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gospodar podzemlja See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


'Bull' Regan: Well, there's no harm in trying.
See more »


Remake of Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

A B-movie with tons of plot holes...
17 December 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Missing Witness" is the sort of B-movie that was very common back in the 1930s and 40s. Despite coming from a top studio (Warner Brothers), it was quickly written, has tons of plot holes and really is only enjoyable if you turn off your brain and just take it for what it is...a fast little crime film for the undemanding audience.

The film starts off well--with a crazy car crash. Then, a group of thugs from a local 'protective association' arrive at a restaurant to shake the owner down for cash. He doesn't agree and they destroy the joint and beat him silly. On the way out, three of the thugs bump into an off-duty cop, 'Bull' Regan (Dick Purcell). Instead of saying 'excuse me', one pulls a knife, the other pulls a gun and the third tries to beat Regan. But Bull is the hero and quickly beats them senseless. However, in court the owner of the restaurant gets amnesia...and the case is thrown out. Think about it...three guys assault a cop, one with a gun and one with a knife, and they just dismiss the case and let the guys go?!?!?! This is a HUGE plot problem...and shows the film was rushed into production without thinking through the plot. After all, the weapons charges were much more serious than the other charges!

What follows is a city trying to get tough on organized crime sort of picture--and repeatedly the baddies seem to be able to anticipate everything. Witnesses die and someone up high obviously is involved with the mob. There also is a lady named Mary...and you get to hear the cops make a lot of awful sexist remarks towards her! My wife was horrified...I thought her reaction was a bit funny...but I certainly didn't blame her. Purcell's character as well as his boss behaved like pigs.

Overall, this is a pretty bad film despite the nice Warner Brothers gloss. Not horrible...but not all that good either.

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