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"The Payoff" (1942)

Special prosecutor Lloyd Pearson (Ian Keith) has been murdered and there is strong evidence that gambler Moroni (John Maxwell) committed the crime, but he has an air-tight alibi, spending the evening with Brad McKay (Lee Tracy), star reporter of the Chronicle. Norris (Robert Middlemass), the publisher, send Brad and his son, Guy Norris (Tom Brown), to cover the story.

Brad learns that Moroni did commit the murder, but has no way to prove it. Moroni tells Brad that the murdered prosecutor was getting a payoff, and was killed by his assistant Hugh Walker (Forrest Taylor) following a quarrel.

John Angus (Jack La Rue), proprietor of the Hi Lo Club, tells Moroni that Brad suspects him. Phyllis Walker (Tina Thayer) tells Brad that her father is in danger from Moroni. Hugh Walker has given her a key to the public locker where some money is hidden. That night, Brad finds Moroni dead.

He realizes there is a higher-up that had Moroni kill Pearson, and then has had Moroni killed. He learns that Walker has been kidnapped, but secures the money from the locker and hides it in his apartment. He meets Alma Dorne (Evelyn Brent)at the night club, and, while attracted to her, he suspects she is an accomplice of the gang.

He surprises her while she is searching his apartment for the money, and agrees to help him. Norris summons Brad to his home for Brad to show him what evidence he has collected so far. Norris, at the point of a gun, tells Brad he has collected too much. Brad gets the upper hand by telling Norris that his son Guy is walking into a death trap. Norris rushes to save his son from the trap he himself had set for Brad.

Summary written by Les Adams {longhorn@abilene.com} imdb.com

Cast (in credits order)
Lee Tracy ....Brad McKay
Tom Brown....Guy Morris
Tina Thayer ....Phyllis Walker
Evelyn Brent ....Alma Dorene
Jack La Rue ....John Angus
Robert Middlemass ....Norris (newspaper publisher)
John Maxwell ....Moroni
John Sheehan ....Sgt. Brenen
Harry C. Bradley ....Dr. Steele
Forrest Taylor ....Hugh Walker
Pat Costello ....Reporter
Ian Keith ....Police inspector

Directed by Arthur Dreifuss
 
Writing credits (in alphabetical order)
Edward Dein
Arthur Hohl story

Produced by
Harry D. Edwards ....associate producer
Leon Fromkess ....executive producer
Jack Schwarz ....producer

Production Company: Producers Releasing Corporation
Audio/Visual: sound, b&w

Keywords: Mystery, drama

run time: 1:12:05

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• Stars Lowell Sherman, Marian Nixon, Hugh Trevor, William Janney, Helene Millard
• Directors: Lowell Sherman
• Theatrical Release Date: October 15, 1930
• Genres: Crime, Drama
• Synopsis A thug robs a young engaged couple of their last few dollars. When the thug's gang boss hears of the robbery, he gives them back their money and takes them under his wing. The thug, resentful of the couple, plans to organize a mutiny against the gang's boss, but when he is killed in a botched robbery, the police focus their attention on the young couple.

• Studio: Alpha Video
• DVD Release Date: March 23, 2004
• Run Time: 71 minutes