Tell No Tales (1939)

tell no tales 1939

Good one about a newspaper editor tracking down the path of a hundred dollar bill used in a kidnapping. It could be his last story before the paper shuts down for good after seventy-five years.

Mike Cassidy (Melvyn Douglas) is a principled newspaper publisher who wants the stories to be accurate without any sensationalism. The paper is seventy-five years old and a party is being thrown for the employees. They include Mary Anderson who has worked there for fifty years. During the celebration Mike gets a telegram from Matt Cooper (Douglas Dumbrille). He runs the rival tabloid paper. The message says he’s purchased Cassidy’s paper and is going to close it.

Cooper’s tabloid has been giving a hard time to school teacher Ellen Frazier (Louise Platt). She’s the only witness to the kidnapping of a baby. Her school is surrounded by cops keeping her protected from the gang.

A depressed Mike goes into his favorite bar and has drinks set up for any employee who comes in for a snort. When he goes back Mike pays the owner with a hundred dollar bill. He checks against a list and it turns out to be from the ransom money. Mike tells him to keep quiet and he’ll try and track down where it came from.

He asks Cooper for help but he threatens to call the cops and says the story can only be published in his paper. Mike leaves and goes to the school and pretends to be a lawyer. He gets Ellen out of there and into a cab. He tells her who he really is and manages to finally convince her to help him.

The bartender said the bill came from a jeweler. Mike goes to his home on the day of wedding. He says he got the bill from a doctor’s wife who bought a cigarette case. When Mike leaves he discovers that Ellen took off in the cab.

Next stop is the doctor’s house where he asks the wife where she got the bill. It came from her husband who got it from a boxer with a knife wound. When he leaves there Ellen is outside with the cab and a cop. She didn’t have enough money for the cab. That gets straightened out and Mike tells her to take the subway to the newspaper office where he has a co-worker waiting to print the final story.

At the fighter’s place Mike walks in on a funeral. The fighter was run down by a car. His wife Ruby says she got the bill from a friend of her boss Lorna Travers. She’s singing at a police benefit. She tells him the bill came from Matt Cooper. Then Mike finds out Ellen never got to the paper.

He goes to Cooper’s home. Matt tells him he got the bill from a gambling joint owned by a gangster named Arno (Gene Lockhart). Arno is friendly and gives him the names of a rival gang that was winning money the night Cooper was there. The trail gets a lot more dangerous before the finish.

One good thing about this movie is that Douglas is not the usual loud mouthed, blustery newspaper editor who yells at the highest volume he can reach. This is well worth checking out.



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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