There’s a germ of a decent B in here but it gets lost in an inept final script and the movie sinks itself. A few rewrites could have saved it.
Two of gangster Bochini’s (Stanley Fields) boys are waiting outside the Club Sirocco to pick up his girlfriend Ruth Parmalee. To their surprise they see another woman approach her and put four slugs in her. They drive off. A bracelet is left at the murder scene.
At the office of do gooder Breen (Michael Whalen) he decides to look into a strange ad in his small paper accepted by his press operator Happy (Roscoe Ates). It says, “I’ll buy your life.” Breen goes to the hotel where any applicants are supposed to see an A.Darnell for details. He’s told Darnell only wants to see females.
Breen waits outside while Mary Jones (Rose Hobart) is being interviewed by Darnell and Valencia Duncan (Joan Woodbury). Mary says she needs twenty grand for her brother to further his career as an artist. She’ll tell him the money came from a rich uncle in South America. Valencia gives her two grand on account and says the rest will be paid to whoever she wants after she’s dead.
Breen offers to help her if she needs him without knowing what happened in the room. She goes home to her brother. He’s blind and she blames himself for his condition. It’s never revealed what happened. The money will be for an eye operation that could restore his sight.
Breen goes to see his friend police Lt.Hammer. He’s investigating the Parmalee murder. He has a pearl that’s from a missing bracelet as a clue. Back at his office Breen is pleasantly surprised to have Mary drop in. She hands him two letters. One tells him what to do when he gets eighteen grand after her death. The other tells her story if he doesn’t get the money. If he does he’s to burn the letter unopened. He says his fee will be to take her to dinner at the Sirocco.
At the club he gives owner Grady (Paul Maxey) the letter to put in his safe and gets a receipt written on the back of a business card. Breen can’t help but notice the band leader’s reaction to seeing Mary. He’s Darnell and the singer is Valencia. Darnell is also a successful mystery writer. Breen spots a pearl missing on Mary’s bracelet. Mary catches up with Valencia and tells her about the letters she gave to Breen. Then she walks outside to a police car, goes to see Lt.Hammer and confesses to killing Ruth.
Bochini and his thugs come by and they identify Mary as the woman they saw outside the club. He says if Hammer doesn’t make her pay for what she did, he will. A lawyer calls Bochini and tells him he has a client will pay for the letters. Bochini has one of his boys bring Breen to see him. He threatens him but Breen manages to convince him they’re pals. Then he does something dumb.
Anything further would be a spoiler. I will say the ending is real convenient and rushed and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Rose Hobart played Mary in the TV series “Peyton Place” (1066-69).
This was character actor Stanley Fields last movie. His career started in 1929 with an uncredited role in “New York Nights.”