(Side Note: I recently read Edward J. Funk's book Eavesdropping: Loretta Young Talks About Her Movie Years and Loretta referred to one of my favorite films The Unguarded Hour as "just a little program picture" and now I seem to be working that phrase into all of my personal film reviews. I tend to love "little program pictures" and I also highly recommend the book if you're a LY fan!)
Reporter Timothy Higgins (played wittily by Stuart Erwin) knows that there is something fishy going on, but cannot expose the scam without more cooperation. Dick Barton (Franchot Tone) is a wealthy society lawyer who would rather keep his nose out of scandal and his focus on his equally wealthy fiancee and a carefree lifestyle. His disinterest is clearly visible in this photo:
|Franchot is unimpressed.|
|Franchot is slightly more impressed.|
|J. Farrell MacDonald as Michael Devlin|
Shortly after Ann teams up with reporter Higgins (Erwin) and slowly wins over attorney Barton (Tone, whose character has been appointed special prosecutor on the case), a man is murdered on her doorstep after her father Michael attempts to sell the store. Michael then escapes to an ocean liner where he will be allowed to do honest work.
Realizing that the ship fire is no accident but an involved criminal plot, Barton dedicates himself to exposing the local crime ring. A love affair and heartbreaking death involving some of the characters occur before the film ends. The bad guys in the film are played brilliantly by Joseph Calleia and Robert Barrat.
Thankfully, this film that flies under the radar but packs a lot of punch is available on DVD through Warner Archive.