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Night Court

Night Court(1932)

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teaser Night Court (1932)

MGM took a rare stab at a gritty story of corruption ripped from the headlines, usually the purview of Warner Bros., with this 1932 crime drama. A year earlier, New York papers had been filled with stories of corrupt judge Chico Accatuna's involvement in a prostitution ring. He would sentence innocent women to jail time on false prostitution charges, leaving them easy prey for mobsters out to recruit workers for their brothels. Charles Beahan and journalist Mark Hellinger had written a play loosely based on the judge's criminal actions, then sold it to MGM, where veteran screenwriters Bayard Veiller and Lenore J. Coffee turned it into a film. Walter Huston stars as the crooked Judge Moffett. He's under investigation by a corruption commission headed by honest judge Lewis Stone. When he thinks innocent young Anita Page has stumbled on his secret bankbook, he has her framed for prostitution, puts her child into foster care and has thugs dump her husband (Phillips Holmes) on a slow boat to South America. Holmes' escape and revenge provide for fast-paced, tough drama under the direction of W.S. Van Dyke, a director who knew how to keep things moving.

By Frank Miller

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