Special Agent

  • 1935
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

This fast-moving gangster picture was typical of the Warner Bros. releases of the 1930s: lots of shooting, action, and romance, all crammed into a brief 78 minutes as overseen by supervisor Sam Bischoff who went on to be the producer of such epics as THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, THE PHENIX CITY STORY, among others. Cortez is a well-known racketeer with...read more

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This fast-moving gangster picture was typical of the Warner Bros. releases of the 1930s: lots of shooting, action, and romance, all crammed into a brief 78 minutes as overseen by supervisor Sam Bischoff who went on to be the producer of such epics as THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, THE

PHENIX CITY STORY, among others. Cortez is a well-known racketeer with affectations such as wearing gloves when he plays solitaire. He's been a top dog in crime, and the IRS, knowing that they can't nail him for the misdeeds, seeks to get him on income tax evasion (which, as you know, is the way

in which Al Capone was finally jailed). Barrat is the chief IRS agent, and he deputizes newspaperman Brent to help amass evidence against Cortez for the Grand Jury. Brent is a popular newsman with lots of charm, and he uses it on Davis, who keeps the books for Cortez. Cortez takes a liking to

Brent, totally unaware that he's wearing the two hats of newsman and cop, and even gives him inside dope on some gangster doings, so Brent's credibility is heightened with his newspaper. Naturally, there is an attraction between Brent and Davis, and he eventually reveals why he's nosing about the

gangland group. He asks Davis if she will help him get Cortez. At first she is reluctant, but she is won over when Brent informs her that Cortez is, in fact, a murderer. Davis makes copies of the account ledgers, and Cortez is taken in by the authorities. Guilfoyle, an employee of Cortez, is also

working inside the government; he tells Cortez that Brent and Davis have been responsible for all this. Cortez orders his aides to kidnap Davis in order to keep her from testifying. Before that can happen, Brent reckons Cortez has something up his elegant sleeve, so he calls for police to protect

Davis, and she is successfully shielded until the moment when she is being led up the steps to the courthouse. At that time, Cortez's men nab Davis. Brent manages to follow them to their lair and call for the cops, so the men are arrested and Davis is saved. Later, Cortez is tried and convicted

and sent off to spend the next three decades on Alcatraz. In point of fact, Davis had been a conspirator, but she gets immunity for testifying, and all charges against her disappear. Brent and Davis are deeply in love by now and plan to marry as the picture fades. One oddity about the film happens

when Cortez is seen to move his lips but nothing comes out. It's not your TV set on the fritz, folks. The Hays Office, which was the censorship arbiter in those days, demanded a dialog cut after the picture had been edited, but there was no way to excise the entire scene because many story points

had been made. In order to make it work, they erased the offending line from the sound track and the scene kept going. It was easier doing that than calling in Brent, who was busy acting in IN PERSON, or Davis, who was working in DANGEROUS.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This fast-moving gangster picture was typical of the Warner Bros. releases of the 1930s: lots of shooting, action, and romance, all crammed into a brief 78 minutes as overseen by supervisor Sam Bischoff who went on to be the producer of such epics as THE C… (more)

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