» » Hollywood Mystery (1934)

Short summary

A PR man for a low-budget studio comes up with what he believes is the perfect gimmick: to make a gangster picture with a real gangster in the lead role! He convinces a director--a foreigner who doesn't know much about the American gangster scene--to come on board, and they find what they believe to be their perfect leading man when they spot a tough-looking customer knock out a man in a nightclub. It turns out that the "gangster" they picked isn't a gangster at all, but the man he knocked out in the nightclub is. Complications ensue.

This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Cincinnati Thursday 29 September 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), in Detroit Sunday 13 November 1949 on WJBK (Channel 2), and in New York City Thursday 29 December 1949 on the DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5).

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: X-MEN
    Hollywood publicity agent comes up with the idea to cast a real gangster in the lead of the studio's new gangster movie. The agent, his girl and the director go to a restaurant to find a real gangster and spot the perfect one when he slugs another mobster and then runs into the night. They follow him and convince him to take the role. He's not a gangster in real life, but everyone thinks he is, especially the real gang lord he punched in the face in the restaurant.

    This is an amusing but unremarkable little film. Showing signs of the meager budget it still gives a nice sense of being more than just a sound stage bound tale with some nice exteriors, a chase through the streets of Hollywood and enough variation in the sets that you don't feel its just the same place redressed.

    The cast is game with Frank Albertson being very amusing as the fast talking PR man who seems really to be running everything going on around him. Also a joy is John Davidson as the director. I'm a big fan of Davidson from his numerous movie serial appearances so it was nice to see him take a role where he was really vital to the plot and where he could do more than just be a sinister henchman.

    The print I saw was one of the retitled Hollywood Mystery, which is more than a misnomer since there really is no mystery to speak of, the film being more a comedy about Hollywood.

    Worth a bag of popcorn and a soda, especially if you can watch it as part of a double feature.
  • comment
    • Author: Ynap
    Supreme Pictures movie studio PR man Frank Albertson comes up with a great and inventive new movie angle, cast a real life gangster in a new up and coming gangster film called "The Racketeer." The director is chosen, as is June Clyde, the leading lady, now all they need is a real life gangster. Going to a notorious nightspot where gangsters are known to hangout they spot one, played by Jose Crespo, after a fight breaks out at the club. The studio signs him and alerts the newspapers that a real life gangster has been cast in the role, only won't provide anymore information then the gangsters name, thereby making the press eager for more news. It turns out however that the man Crespo fought at the nightclub is also a gangster and he wants Crespo dead. I can't tell more without giving away the plot.

    This is a pure B picture, running under an hour, the film today is in the public domain and can be found on DVD and VHS. Beware however of the version that is available on DVD as the film's picture is very heavily cropped.
  • comment
    • Author: Ballalune
    Supreme Pictures needs a big gimmick for its latest picture, The Racketeer. Call on the studio's PR man Dan Ryan who convinces the studio president and its temperamental director Sigfried Sonoff that since this is a gangster picture, why not use a real life gangster in the lead? Everyone likes and Tony Capello, transplanted mobster from the east becomes the star, however this is a trick by Ryan since Capello is just a struggling actor and this was a ruse to get Sonoff to stay on as director. Things get further complicated after Capello slugs big time crime boss Joe Romano at a nightclub, and Romano goes after Capello and leading lady Doris Dawn in revenge. Everything about the film was done on the cheap including all production and artistic aspects of the film. The script doesn't follow any sort of organization and Eason's direction (which this is the worst of) seems to be aim the camera and shoot approach. The characters are just dull people that usually get two second performances in B pictures, despite the fact that everyone tries playing their roles to the hilt. Rating, 3.
  • Cast overview:
    June Clyde June Clyde - Doris Dawn
    Frank Albertson Frank Albertson - Daniel Patrick Ryan
    José Crespo José Crespo - Tony Capello
    Tenen Holtz Tenen Holtz - Benjamin Vogel
    John Davidson John Davidson - Siegfried Sonoff
    Stanley Price Stanley Price - Joe Romano
    Cyril Ring Cyril Ring - Duke - Tony's Assistant
    Edith Terry Preuss Edith Terry Preuss - Marie
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