Movie Mirrors Index

The Chaser

(1938 b 76')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Based closely on the 1933 film The Nuisance, an ambulance-chasing lawyer falls in love with a company spy hired to ruin his career.

Lawyer Calhoun (Henry O'Neill) wants to end ambulance chasing; but Thomas Brandon (Dennis O'Keefe) leaves to get to an accident before the ambulance and signs up the victim as his men find witnesses. Brandon cautions alcoholic Dr. Prescott (Lewis Stone) and defends a thieving street-car conductor against Calhoun, who represents the "soulless corporation." Calhoun is told that Brandon is winning too many damage cases and to get him. Dr. Prescott tells Brandon he needs $100 and uses it to pay his liquor bill. Dr. Prescott says that Olson is bad off as Brandon negotiates with Kelly (Robert Emmett Keane); but Olson dies.

Brandon picks up an accident victim and recognizes faker Floppy (Nat Pendleton). They go to a big accident. Brandon tears the heel off a woman's shoe and carries her to his car. Dorothy Mason (Ann Morriss) says she is a spy and reports to Calhoun. Brandon tells Floppy to find her. Mrs. Olson (Ruth Gillette) tells Brandon she is marrying Lars (John Qualen); so Brandon has Dr. Prescott examine Lars to delay it by inventing ailments. Brandon receives the shoe with Dorothy's hotel room. He takes her new shoes, and she secretly records their conversation about her phony case. Dorothy tells Calhoun she is going to Brandon's doctor, and he has her examined by three doctors. She has Dr. Prescott write down her symptoms and calls Calhoun. Kelly tempts Dr. Prescott with $250. Brandon tells Floppy to keep Mrs. Olson from marrying Lars. Brandon and Dorothy find Mrs. Olson skating with Floppy, and Brandon smashes a camera but has Floppy and Mrs. Olson arrested. Brandon goes to his office with Dorothy and finds Dr. Prescott giving his files to Kelly. Brandon calls Dr. Prescott a stool pigeon and sees him walk in front of a car; Dr. Prescott dies in the arms of Brandon and Dorothy.

At his apartment Brandon tells Dorothy how he lost his idealism to the tricks of Calhoun and says he trusts her; they kiss. Dorothy tells Calhoun she is quitting. Calhoun realizes she is in love with Brandon and reminds her of her false statement. Floppy intercepts Calhoun's message to Dorothy. Brandon stops her from leaving town and is passed the message. In court Dorothy testifies that she worked for Calhoun, who accuses Brandon of suborning perjury; but Dorothy is married to him and can't testify against him. Brandon says he married her to get off and offers Dorothy an annulment. When she is arrested for perjury, Brandon realizes that she took a risk in marrying him and visits her; but she won't see him. Brandon asks Calhoun to withdraw his charges and offers to quit. Brandon uses technical laws to stop the street-cars and buses but is stopped by an injunction. Floppy walks in front of Calhoun's car, and Brandon blackmails him into releasing Dorothy. In the final scene Brandon asks Dorothy for another chance and promises to go straight.

A lawyer lost his idealistic values after losing cases to a tricky lawyer. Now that he is more clever at tricks the question is whether a beautiful woman can make an honest man of him again.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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