The Penal Code (1932)

Creaky movie about a guy trying to go straight after two years in the can. It really looks like most of the actors weren’t comfortable working with sound yet as they deliver their lines real sloooow. Overall it’s super dull. Also a number of plot lines are just dropped without explanation.

Robert Palmer (Regis Toomey) faithfully writes letters home to Mom. The letters are from Australia. In reality, Bob is in prison and is using a service that mails letters from anywhere in the world to whomever you choose.

Just before he gets out there’s a meeting in the warden’s office with the cop who busted Palmer. Sgt.Bender tells the warden he thinks the letter mailing outfit is really a front for blackmail. Enter Bob. He’s free.

Bob goes to the letter writing company and is told it’ll take about eight weeks total for his letter to Mom about returning from Australia to get to her. In a flash time goes by and Bob is back. Also happy to see him is his girlfriend Margie (Helen Cohan). Her father is president of the bank where Bob used to work. None of them know he was in prison and believe the Australia story.

One person who isn’t so sure is bank vice president James Forrester. He’s jealous because he also has designs on Margie. Forrester is in trouble with gamblers and has a stack of I.O.U.’s.

One day he asks Bob to work late. Margie, her father and Bob’s mother all go to the movies and say they’ll meet him after the show. Work finally done, Bob leaves. Forrester sneaks in and goes to the vault and start loading up some stacks of loot.

Bob forgot his cigarettes and sees someone in the vault. He gets a gun out of a drawer. He’s surprised to see Forrester. The two struggle for the gun and Forrester steps on the alarm. In come the cops including Sgt. Bender.

Forrester accuses Bob of robbing the vault. Will Bob end up back in “Australia?”

Regis Toomey had a six decade career in movies and TV. He was Lt.McGough on “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” (1957-58) and Detective Lee Hart on “Burke’s Law” (1963-65).

Helen Cohan is the daughter of George M. Cohan. She only appeared in three movies.


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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