Below The Deadline (1936)

Totally illogical crime story about a cop framed for murder and a diamond robbery. It is fun though watching Thomas E. Jackson as insurance investigator Pearson.  Flash Ackroyd has a plan to rob the Abrams Diamond Company of a shipment due in shortly. It involves Abrams secretary Molly Fitzgerald (Cecilia Parker) and her cop boyfriend Terry Mulvaney (Russell Hopton). He’s a redhead who speaks with a heavy Irish brogue. The first step is to get Terry to the Abrams office. He gets one of his men to forge a letter to Terry with Molly’s signature. It works. On the night of the shipment Terry is knocked out by one of Flash’s men and tied up. Flash and his boys wear masks and go into Abrams office. They rob the shipment at gunpoint and kill one of the men. One of the robbers calls the shooter Terry. He takes off his hat to show his red hair and speaks with a brogue. That’s all the cops need to lock Terry up. He says he was framed. Of course no one thought to look at Terry’s head for a lump to prove his story. He manages to knock out the cop taking him in, steal the car and go to a garage and force a man at gunpoint to get the cuffs off. Then he hops on a train. The conductor has a wire with Terry’s description. He plans to stop the train and send a wire to the sheriff. The train derails and Terry is thrown clear. There’s a body nearby with a disfigured face and Terry slips his ID into the dead man’s pocket. Terry ends up in the hospital and gets plastic surgery on his nose. The railroad leaves a check for two thousand dollars and payment of his medical bills as a settlement. Back home insurance investigator Pearson (Thomas E. Jackson) keeps after Molly thinking she and Terry are guilty. More time goes by and Molly is about to leave town when Flash shows up and offers her a job. She takes it. Terry with his new nose and dyed hair goes to Pearson’s office. He says he’s Terry’s brother Ed from Colorado. Pearson gets his fingerprints off a cigarette case. He compares them with those in the Mulvaney file and Terry’s masquerade is over. Pearson has had a change of heart and doesn’t believe he and Molly are guilty. He tells Terry to keep pretending he’s brother Ed. He really does have a brother in Colorado so maybe it won’t be too tough. When he sees Molly she’s convinced he’s Ed. It’s way beyond credibility but Jackson made it worth watching.

Cecilia Parker


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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