Find the Blackmailer (Warner Bros.) (1943)

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‘Find the Blackmailer’ Strand’s Next Mystery-Drama An unusual murder-mystery drama calculated to tingle the spine of the most hardened “who-done-it”’ fan will be the new screen fare presented at the Strand Theatre on Friday. The picture is Warner Bros.’ “Find the Blackmailer,” featuring Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson and Gene Lockhart. The plot centers about a talking blackbird, trained by its exconvict owner to repeat the name of the man he is attempting to blackmail. Choosing the town’s leading citizen and candidate for the mayoralty for his victim, he trains the bird to say “Don’t kill me, Rhodes,” in the event that he is murdered by a fellow gangster. Asking the sum of sixty thousand dollars for the abandonment of these plans, he hopes to make a quick get-away. Before his plan succeeds, however, somebody murders him with an ice-pick. A wild search for the blackbird ensues and almost everyone in the cast becomes a suspect for the murder of the blackmailer. With the aid of a clever detective, Rhodes finally succeeds in tracking down the missing blackbird, which proves to be an important clue to the solution of the crime. “Find the Blackmailer’ was directed by D. Ross Lederman. Robert E. Kent wrote the screenplay from a magazine Mat 101 — 15c Marjorie Hoshelle and Jerome Cowan are importantly cast in Warner Bros.’ mystery-drama, ‘Find the Blackmailer,” now at the Strand. story by G. T. Fleming-Roberts. Others in the cast include Marjorie Hoshelle, Robert Kent and Wade Boteler. Mystery-Drama At Strand Friday “Find the Blackmailer,” an action packed mystery drama with an unusual plot will have its premiere at the Strand Theatre Friday. Whereas, in most. ‘“‘who-done-its,” the problem is to find the missing body, in this new Warner Bros. picture it’s “find the missing bird!” A talking blackbird is hypothetically trained by its owner to repeat over and over the name of the man he is trying to blackmail, so that in the event of his death, this man would be exposed by the talking bird. He then uses this bird to blackmail his sister’s fiance who is running for city Mayor and cannot afford to have his name involved. The man’s evil plans backfire and he is found dead, killed with an ice-pick, but the bird has disappeared. Then begins the frantic search for the blackbird. As each new scene unfolds new complications set in until apprehension of the crime becomes hopeless right up to its explanation in the closing scene. Some of Warner Bros.’ most capable personalities are in the cast of this unique drama. Jerome Cowan plays the private detective who is engaged to find the missing blackbird, Gene Lockhart plays the hopeful candidate for the Mayoralty, Faye Emerson portrays the murdered man’s girl-friend with Robert Kent playing her accomplice with Marjorie Hoshelle, Wade Boteler and John Harmon also featured in the cast. “Find the Blackmailer” was directed by D. Ross Lederman from Robert E. Kent’s screen play based upon a magazine story by G. T. Fleming-Roberts. New Strand Film “Find the Blackmailer,”’ a Warner Bros. mystery drama, is the Strand Theatre’s current attraction. Featured in the cast are Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson and Gene Lockhart. D. Ross Lederman directed from Robert E. Kent’s screen play. Jerome Cowan, Master Sleuth More than a few actors have started their way to stardom on the screen by depicting a master sleuth. George Sanders gained his great popularity through his work in the “Saint” series. William Powell made a screen comeback when he created the “Nick” roles as the “Thin Man.” There are many other examples but Warner Bros. is convinced that they have the next notable case in Jerome Cowan who plays the private detective in “Find the Blackmailer,” the Strand Theatre’s current attraction. Cowan is no novice to the screen. As a matter of fact, he earned the title which he held for several years as “Hollywood’s busiest free-lance actor.” He relinquished this enviable title, however, when he recently signed a long-term contract with the Warner Bros. studios. Realizing that much of Cow CAST D. L. Trees Jerome Cowan Mona Vance Faye Emerson John M. Rhodes..Gene Lockhart Pandora Pines, Marjorie Hoshelle Robert Kent Detective Cramer, Wade Boteler John Harmon Bradley Page Lou Lubin Ralph Peters Ray Hicky Farrell PRODUCTION Directed by D. Ross Lederman; Screen Play by Robert E. Kent; From a Magazine Story by G. T. Fleming-Roberts; Director of Photography, James Van Trees, A.S.C.; Film Editor, Harold McLernon; Sound by Robert B. Lee; Art Director, Charles Novi; Dialogue Director, Harry Seymour; Set Decorations by Clarence Steensen; ’ Gowns by Leah Rhodes; Makeup Artist, Perc Westmore; Unit Manager, Eric Stacey; Asst. Director, Wilbur McGaugh. Faye Emerson, Film Vixen, First Acted in Church It is a paradox that Faye Emerson, who portrays an unscrupulous vixen in Warner Bros.’ new entertaining mystery-drama, “Find the Blackmailer,” currently at the Strand Theatre, did her first real acting in church plays. A San Diego, Cal., girl, Miss Emerson participated in every play put on by her congregation during several years of her adolescence. She decided that she liked acting, so upon completion of her education she went to Carmel where she joined the St. James Repertory company at a salary of $15.00 a week. The following years found her working in several different stock companies, all within a few miles of Hollywood and she appeared in such well-known plays as “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Hay Fever’ and many others. She was enacting her favorite role — Mary Hilliard in “Here Today” at the San Diego Community Theatre when a Warner Bros. talent scout spotted her and offered her a contract. The young actress has been working steadily at Warner Bros. ever since. In addition to the leading feminine role in “Find the Blackmailer,”’ she has finished a major part in the new Technicolor picture, “The Desert Song” with Dennis Morgan and Irene Manning. “Who ever thought that being in church plays would lead to this,’ said Miss Emerson as she stepped into a scene to participate in a murder! an’s acting versatility had been wasted — in that he had irrevocably been cast as a villain — Warner Bros. started handing him sympathetic roles. His first assignment was opposite Jane Wyman in “Crime by Night.” The results of this picture proved Warner Bros.’ foresight unerring, and he was immediately given the lead in “Find the Blackmailer,” a unique mystery drama, packed solid with 60 minutes of ceaseless, exciting action, with a plot that defies apprehension until the very last. The charming manner and confident ease with which Cowan interpreted his part in “Find the Blackmailer” sets him solidly in the high plane of leading roles. So don’t be too surprised if he emerges this time as an irrevocable leading man. SYNOPSIS (Not for Publication) John Rhodes (Gene Lockhart) hires D. L. Trees (Jerome Cowan), a detective, to track down a talking blackbird owned by Fred Molner who uses the bird as a means of blackmailing Rhodes. Molner has taught the bird to repeat “Don’t kill me, Rhodes,” in the event that he is murdered by a member of a gambling syndicate whom he has defrauded. Going to Molner’s apartment, Trees finds him murdered and his bodyguard, Ray Hickey (John Harmon), unconscious. Clues lead Trees to Mona Vance (Faye Emerson), the murdered man’s girlfriend, who is currently involved with Harper (Robert Kent), presumably her lawyer. Taking Rhodes to Mona’s apartment, he finds her with Harper. While Rhodes covers the two with a gun Trees searches the apartment and finds the blackbird in a cage disguised as a portable radio. Trees discovers that Harper is not a lawyer but a bigtime gambler who has been using Molner as a means of breaking a rival gambling syndicate. Harper killed Folner when he discovered that he was double-crossing him. He also discovers that the bird couldn’t talk but was seemingly made to do so by Hickey, who was a ventriloquist. (Running Time: 55 minutes) Mat 201 — 30c Jerome Cowan and Faye Emerson are shown in a scene from ‘Find the Blackmailer,” Warner Bros.’ mystery-drama which starts its engagement Friday at the Strand Theatre. (Prepared Review) Strand’s ‘Find the Blackmailer’ Successful Mystery-Drama Warner Bros.’ new mysterydrama, “Find the Blackmailer,” which opened at the Strand Theatre yesterday, has all the basic requirements for a successful mystery story. It has a well-constructed plot, a high suspense content and excellent acting. It is jammed full of unusual circumstances which fail to disentangle themselves until the very last scene and is ¢alculated to keep audiences guessing right through to the end of its hour of continuous action and suspense. “Find the Blackmailer” is the story of a candidate for the Mayorship of his home town who is being framed by the brother of the girl to whom he is engaged. This girl’s brother has a five-year jail record and if the news should be made public it would ruin the chances of the aspirant mayor. A novel twist is given the story when a search for a talking blackbird, who disappears after a murder is committed, becomes the object of the search for prima facie evidence in the case. Gene Lockhart, who portrays the aspirant mayor, does not want anyone else to find the bird because he has reason to believe that its master (the murdered man) taught it to say, “No, no! Don’t kill me, Rhodes!”” for the purpose of BILLING WARNER BROS. Pictures, Inc. Presents ‘FIND THE BLACKMAILER’ “”” with JEROME COW AN FAYE EMERSON GENE LOCKHAR e * e Directed by D. Ross Lederman 50% 5% 20% 20% 20%, [S% Screen Play by 39 Robert E. Kent ke From a Magazine Story by 29 G. T. Fleming-Roberts ¢ A Warner Bros.First National Picture 5% blackmailing him. He hires a private detective to find the bird and when it is finally discovered under most unexpected circumstances, the plot is climaxed in a novel manner that will surprise everyone who sees the picture. Gene Lockhart does a convincing characterization of the political-minded man and impetus is given the fast-moving story by the able performances of Jerome Cowan as the private detective and Faye Emerson as the murdered man’s girl friend. Praise, too, to Marjorie Hoshelle, Robert Kent, Wade Boteler and John Harmon who appear in the supporting cast. D. Ross Lederman’s able direction makes the most of Robert E. Kent’s screen play, maintaining an element of suspense throughout the picture. Lockhart Man Of Many Talents Acting is just one of Gene Lockhart’s many fine accomplishments. He could have just as easily written Warner Bros.’ new mystery-drama, “Find the Blackmailer,”’ the Strand Theatre’s current attraction, as enacting one of its leading roles. That is — if he could find the time.. Lockhart believes firmly in utilization of one’s spare time and he sets his own example. There is scarcely a minute in the day that he is not seriously engrossed in one of his many interests and hobbies. He is a writer of considerable ability, having authored more than 200 radio scripts, written and produced a number of successful revues and composed a great many well-known songs. His most remembered is the immortal “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise.” The actor was born in London, Ontario, Canada, and has traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa and the -Near East. An American citizen, he loves America above all else because he thinks that it offers more freedom and opportunity for the “little’ man than any other country in history. Lockhart was put under contract to Warner Bros. recently and he has become one of the busiest men on the lot. Several choice roles have been picked out for him in pictures scheduled for early production.