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The Woman Condemned

The Woman Condemned(1934)

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When popular radio singer Jane Merrick drops out of sight after announcing that she is taking a vacation, her admirer, radio producer Jim Wallace, suspects foul play and goes to a private detective agency for help. The head of the agency tells Jim that because of Jane's fame, an outside detective should be hired for the case. Later, the police spot an intruder trying to break into a balcony window at Jane's apartment but are unable to catch him. However, a few minutes later, the officers apprehend a woman as she tries to sneak into the apartment and take her to night court. There, wisecracking crime reporter Jerry Beal is immediately taken with the woman, who has identified herself as Barbara Hammond, and to get her off, he tells the judge that she is his fiancée and a compulsive practical joker, and that the apartment she was breaking into was his own. Not amused by Jerry's obvious fib, the judge "jokingly" marries him to Barbara, then releases Barbara to her husband's custody. Although Barbara assures Jerry that he can obtain an immediate annulment, he insists instead on a dinner date later that week. Jerry then visits Jim, a friend, and learns about Jane's disappearance, the facts of which Jim begs Jerry not to disclose in print. After a pleasant dinner with Jerry, Barbara, who declines to answer any of his questions about her activities, returns to Jane's apartment and sneaks in the balcony window. While hiding behind a curtain, Barbara overhears a conversation between Jane and a rough-talking man, who apparently has been blackmailing her. Moments after the man leaves, a gunshot rings out and Jane falls to the floor, dead. As Barbara picks up the killer's discarded gun, the police arrive, having been alerted to the scene by Jerry, who was watching the place on a hunch. Barbara is arrested, and although Jerry is sure that she is innocent, she refuses to explain her presence in Jane's apartment. Determined to clear Barbara's name, Jerry begins his own investigation of the murder and eventually is led to a private sanitarium run by a Dr. Wagner. One night, Jerry and Jim go to the sanitarium and through a window see Jane on a surgeon's table, apparently being operated on by Dr. Wagner. After Jerry and Jim are discovered, they are tied up and threatened at gunpoint by Dr. Wagner. At that moment, however, Sally, Jane's maid, enters the room and identifies Jim as Jane's fiancé. Dr. Wagner then explains that Jane is alive and well and came to him to have an embarrassing birthmark removed in secret. The murdered woman, he reveals, was Jane's twin sister. Armed with this information, Jerry rushes to police headquarters, where Barbara is undergoing an intense interrogation. After Barbara breaks down and confesses to the crime in front of Dapper Dan, a gangster whom the police have dragged in for questioning, Jane appears in front of him as the ghost of her twin. Terrified by the phony apparition, Dapper Dan confesses to killing Jane's sister as revenge for being dumped by her. The police reveal to Jerry that Barbara, the outside private detective, had agreed to help them corner the man they suspected of the crime by faking the tortured confession. A relieved Jerry forgives Barbara for her deception, then makes plans for their honeymoon.