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Murder Man

Murder Man(1935)

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When crooked businessman J. Spencer Halford is murdered, New York Daily Star crack reporter Steve Grey, known as the "Murder Man" because of his expertise in reporting on homicide cases, is put on the story. With Steve's help, police investigators determine that Halford was shot by a bullet fired from a shooting gallery located across the street from Halford's office. Steve demonstrates his theory to the investigators and suggests that Henry Mander, Halford's equally crooked partner, committed the crime in order to collect on Halford's life insurance policy. Having put forth his seemingly air-tight case against Mander, Steve pays a visit to his father, "Pop" Grey. Pop warns his son to stay away from his estranged wife Dorothy, because she mistreated him, but Steve tells him that Dorothy recently committed suicide. At Mander's trial, a ballistics expert testifies that the rifle used to kill Halford was indentical to the one found at the shooting gallery. Mander, who is unable to come up with an alibi, is further doomed by the testimony of his secretary, who tells investigators that her boss left the office to go to the gallery on the afternoon of Halford's murder. Steve's testimony, in which he tells of great financial losses incurred by his father as a result of Mander and Halpern's investment fraud, helps bring a swift murder conviction upon Mander. Though Mander is sentenced to death for the crime, Steve appears unhappy with the conviction. Hoping to cure his depression, Mary Shannon, Steve's sweetheart and an advice columnist at the newspaper, suggests that he take a vacation to ease his nerves. While resting in the country, the troubled Steve is visited by fellow newspaperman "Shorty," who has been sent to convince him to conduct Mander's deathhouse interview for the Star . Steve ignores Mary's pleas not to take the assignment, and goes to Sing Sing to interview Mander. In a private meeting with the convict, Steve tells Mander that he knows he did not commit the crime. When Steve returns to the paper, he writes up the interview, but is frustrated and tears it up. He then tells newspaper editor Robins that he cannot write the article, but Robins orders him to do it. Steve angrily promises Robins a "great story," and instead of writing up the interview, he records a confession to Halford's murder. In the confession, he admits to murdering Halford to avenge his father, who was robbed of his life's savings by the man, and his wife, who killed herself over Halford's spurned affections. Mary, the first to discover Steve's recorded confession, weeps, and then tries to destroy the tape before it can be made public. Her attempt to cover up for her sweetheart proves futile, however, because Steve turns himself in to the police captain in charge of the murder investigation. Before being led away by the authorities, Steve explains how he cleverly pinned the murder on the victim's business partner. He then calls Robins with the biggest story of the day.