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Fugitives for a Night

(1938 b 63')

En: 5 Ed: 5


An actor works as a stooge in a Hollywood studio and is nearly framed for the murder of an executive.

At Apollo Studios John Nelson (Allan Lane) complains to producer Maurice Tenwright (Russell Hicks) and quits, because Matt Ryan (Frank Albertson) did not supply admiring girls. Publicity agent Ann Wray (Eleanor Lynn) says Matt is Nelson's stooge. Tenwright fires Matt but lets Dennis Poole (Bradley Page) hire Matt as his stooge. Poole invites Matt to his party. Matt asks Ann to cook dinner and says he wants an acting role. At dinner Matt gets a call from seductive Eileen Baker (Adrienne Ames). Matt apologizes to Ann, who says Eileen wants to see Poole. On a set Eileen praises Poole, and Ann wins a bet that she won't go to lunch with Matt. Poole advises Matt to get out of the studio. Tenwright tells Nelson to come back to work, or Poole will get his role. Matt insults columnist Monks (Paul Guilfoyle) with a joke. Nelson calls Matt a stooge, and Tenwright tells Matt to protect Poole from Nelson. A man (Ward Bond) refuses to pay Matt his winnings and knocks him down; Matt shoots him, but it is a gag. Tenwright tells Matt to have Poole leave because of a raid. Matt tries to tell Eileen, but Nelson knocks him down. During the raid Tenwright is shot dead. The Captain (Jonathan Hale) arrests the owner for gambling and questions Monks, who says that Nelson was angry with Tenwright. Monks also says it could be the stooge Matt. The Captain is arresting Matt when Ann causes a disturbance so that Matt can escape with her.

Matt drives Tenwright's car and tells Ann he didn't do it. Matt ditches the car, and they climb on a freight train. They get off in a town and try to rent a car, but they don't have cash. So they tie up the man and leave a check. Matt parks the car in an orchard. Matt and Ann cuddle on a bench and kiss. They get a ride and take a taxi to the party. Eileen asks Poole to take her home, but he is worried about Matt, who asks him for help. Poole offers him cash and his car to escape. Matt and Ann go to Nelson's home and learn that he took his gun with him. Matt and Ann go back, and Matt is arrested. Matt says that Nelson did it, and Nelson hits Matt. The Captain asks questions, and Matt explains; but the Captain says Nelson's gun was not fired. Ann blames the witnesses for being afraid of scandal. The Captain tests hands for gunpowder, and Poole submits to arrest. The Captain says that Poole blamed Tenwright because his career was slipping. In the final scene Matt with Ann decides to buy a hamburger stand.

The politics of a Hollywood studio is explored in this drama about the lure of fame and glamour amid ambition, greed, envy, and vanity. In this bitter critique an actor, tired of being a stooge, comes to realize he would be happier owning a hamburger stand.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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