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Anthony Quinn, writing in his autobiography of his early years as an actor in mostly "B" movies, commented that "With each new picture, the studio simply shuffled the deck and dealt out a new cast and crew. It hardly mattered where the cards fell, as long as we were all working. Naturally, some of the pictures made under those circumstances were better than others, but none was great and most were variations on familiar themes."
Thieves Fall Out, released in 1941, was one of four movies Quinn made for Warner Bros. that year under his new contract with the studio. Of those, only one -- They Died with Their Boots On, starring Errol Flynn as General George Custer and featuring Quinn as Chief Crazy Horse -- was an "A" picture. For the most part, with Academy Awards and stardom still a decade away, Quinn plugged away in minor pictures, usually cast as an Indian warrior, a Mexican bandit or a gangster.
He plays the latter type, a mobster named Chic Collins, in Thieves Fall Out. This family comedy stars Eddie Albert as a naive man whose grandmother allows him to cash in his inheritance -- a mattress factory -- before she dies, so he can marry the girl of his dreams (Joan Leslie). Quinn and his hoods, including Frank Faylen as his bodyguard Pick, step in to buy the business. After some crooked dealings, to their eventual chagrin they end up kidnapping the feisty grandmother.
The movie is based on a play, 30 Days Hath September, which ran for 16 performances in New York in 1938, with Alison Skipworth playing the wisecracking Grandma. Jane Darwell, fresh from her Oscar®-winning triumph as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), enjoys the scene-stealing role in this film version.
Thieves Fall Out was one of five movies in which Quinn appeared with Faylen. He later shared credits with Darwell in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), with Joan Leslie in Where Do We Go from Here? (1945) and with director Ray Enright in China Sky (1945).
Producer: Bryan Foy (uncredited), Edmund Grainger (Associate Producer)
Director: Ray Enright
Screenplay: Charles Grayson, Ben Markson, Sig Herzig (uncredited), Ring Lardner, Jr. (uncredited) and Gertrude Purcell (uncredited), from play by Irving Gaumont and Jack Sobel
Cinematography: Sid Hickox
Art Direction: Max Parker
Original Music: Heinz Roemheld, Effie I. Canning (uncredited)
Editing: Clarence Kolster
Costume Design: Milo Anderson
Cast: Eddie Albert (Edward "Eddie" Barnes), Joan Leslie (Mary Matthews), Jane Darwell (Grandma Allen), Alan Hale (Robert Barnes), William T. Orr (George Formsby), Anthony Quinn (Chic Collins), Frank Faylen (Pick).
by Roger Fristoe