Special Agent (film)

Special Agent (film)

by Laird Doyle and Abem Finkel is based on a story by Martin Mooney.



He learns that Carston's ledgers are kept in a code known only to his secretary, Julie Gardner. When she witnesses the murder of a man who double-crossed her boss, Bill begs her to quit her job, but Julie realizes she knows too much for Carston to let her go.

District Attorney Roger Quinn pressures the murdered man's partner into testifying, but Carston learns of the plan and the witness is murdered and Carston is acquitted. Julie is arrested as a material witness and decodes the books, but is kidnapped by Carston's henchmen before she can testify. Bill tricks Carston into taking him where Julie is being held, and the police trail them. A shootout follows and Julie is rescued. Her testimony sends Carston to Alcatraz, and she accepts Bill's marriage proposal.

Production notes

"Special Agent" was one of three 1935 films co-starring Bette Davis and George Brent, who appeared on-screen together a total of thirteen times. Neither was happy with the finished product. Brent told Ruth Waterbury of "Photoplay" that the picture was "a poor, paltry thing, unbelievable and unconvincing." At the behest of the Warner Bros. publicity department, his comments remained unpublished [ [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/title.jsp?stid=2505&atid=5326&category=Articles&titleName=Special%20Agent&menuName=MAIN "Special Agent" article at Turner Classic Movies] ] .

The film was made just after the Hays Office started to enforce the Production Code. They insisted on several minor changes and wanted a scene producer Sam Bischoff felt was crucial to the plot to be cut in its entirety. The censors compromised by allowing it to remain intact but without what they considered offensive dialogue. As a result, Ricardo Cortez' lips can be seen moving but nothing is heard on the soundtrack [ [http://www.tcm.com/title/title.jsp?stid=2505&category=overview "Special Agent" notes at Turner Classic Movies] ] .

The Oscar-winning song "Lullaby of Broadway" by Harry Warren and Al Dubin is heard in the background in a scene set in a casino. The tune was introduced by Wini Shaw that same year in the musical film "Gold Diggers of 1935", also a Warner Bros. release.

Martin Mooney's story also served as the basis of the 1940 Warner Bros. release "Gambling on the High Seas".

Principal cast

*Bette Davis ..... Julie Gardner
*George Brent ..... Bill Bradford
*Ricardo Cortez ..... Alexander Carston
*Henry O'Neill ..... Roger Quinn
*J. Carrol Naish ..... Joe Durell

Principal production credits

*Producers ..... Samuel Bischoff, Martin Mooney
*Original Music ..... Bernhard Kaun
*Musical Supervision ..... Leo F. Forbstein
*Cinematography ..... Sidney Hickox
*Art Direction ..... Esdras Hartley

Critical reception

The "New York Times" called it a "crisp, fast moving and thoroughly entertaining melodrama" and "a wild and woolly gangland saga", adding, "It all has been done before, but somehow it never seems to lose its visual excitement." [ [http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9D00E5D71E3DE53ABC4152DFBF66838E629EDE "New York Times" review] ]


External links

* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027029/ "Secret Agent" at the Internet Movie Database]

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