Crime

Black Market Babies (1945) William Beaudine, Ralph Morgan, Kane Richmond, Jayne Hazard

Black Market Babies (1945)
This George Morris story was based on an article that appeared in “Woman’s Home Companion” and later reprinted in “Reader’s Digest.” Eddie Condon, a two-bit racketeer, teams up with an alcoholic doctor, Judson, to set up a maternity home with free facilities to expectant mothers, with the proviso that the women sign away all rights to their newborns. The babies are then offered for adaptation to couples willing to make a substantial “contribution” to the home. Things go well for this borderline within-the-law business until a baby is still-born. Conden had already sold the baby for $5,000 and has no intention of returning the money, so he substitutes the child of the sister of his wife. There is a slip-up on the filing of the certificates and the District Attorney’s office gets involved.
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Hebi no michi / Serpent’s Path (1998) Shô Aikawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Shiro Shitamoto, Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Hebi no michi AKA Serpent's Path (1998)
Serpent’s Path and its companion piece Eyes of the Spider (Kumo No Hitomi) both start from the same premise: a man taking revenge for the murder of a child. Kurosawa used this premise as the jumping-off point for the two films rather than their definition, resulting in a pair of works which are not so much occupied with revenge, but with the mental processes of human beings in situations that have placed them outside everyday life.
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The Mysterious Miss X (1939) Gus Meins, Michael Whalen, Lynne Roberts, Chick Chandler

The Mysterious Miss X (1939)
Keith Neville and Dan Casey, two small-time stage actors, are traveling by bus back two New York City, and have an overnight stay in a small town. They take a room in a local hotel and a murder is committed in an adjoining room to Keith. The latter hears the gunfire, goes to investigate and is there when the local police arrive. He and Casey are both held on suspicion of murder and jailed.
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The Big Boss (1941) Charles Barton, Otto Kruger, Gloria Dickson, John Litel

The Big Boss (1941)
The Big Boss is Jim Maloney (Otto Kruger), who pulls all the political strings in an unnamed major metropolis. Maloney’s chief antagonist is scrupulously honest “reform” governor Bob Dugan (John Litel). The fact that Maloney and Dugan are actually brothers, orphaned in childhood and raised separately, adds both texture and poignancy to their current adversarial relationship. Intending to reveal his fraternal ties to Dugan at a crucial moment in the latter’s anti-corruption campaign, Maloney is ultimately defeated by the forces of Righteousness. Outside of the always dependable Otto Kruger and John Litel, the film’s best performance is delivered by the underrated Gloria Dickson as a fairly realistic newspaperwoman.
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